By BRETT MARSHALL
SATANTA — Before Tuesday night's Hi-Plains League volleyball quadrangular got underway at Satanta High School, the Lady Indians' first-year coach Ashton Wenta knew her team had been making steady improvement during the 2009 season.
She just didn't know how much until the three-match, round-robin was concluded and her team had gone 3-0, including a three-set, 25-12, 20-25, 25-20, victory over the Lakin Lady Broncs, who had entered the quad with an unblemished HPL record.
"It's an awesome feeling and we were really fired up," Wenta said. "It came down to fighting for every single point and I don't think I've seen the girls work any harder."
The victory over Lakin was, according to Wenta, the first time the Indians had ever notched a volleyball victory against the Lady Broncs.
"That's what somebody told me, that we'd never beaten (Lakin)," Wenta said. "I think the girls have realized that the teamwork and hustling after every point is making the difference. They know they need each other and can depend on each other."
Wenta's squad opened the quad with a 28-26, 25-18 victory over Syracuse before going through the three-set match with Lakin. Grabbing the early momentum with its convincing 25-12 first-set win, the Lady Indians then watched Lakin rally to win the second set 25-20.
"The momentum definitely goes back and forth," Wenta said. "The Lakin match was our moment of the night. We were super excited to win and would probably have been satisfied to go home after that."
When they returned to the floor for their final match of the night against Elkhart, Wenta's team looked as though its energy gas tank was on near-empty.
Elkhart had just lost a three-set match to Syracuse (23-25, 25-18, 25-23) but gave the Lady Indians all they wanted in the first set, finally succumbing 25-22.
"We just kind of hit the dead spot there," Wenta said of the first set against Elkhart. "The second game we played much better, more like we have been."
While the three wins improved their record to 9-14 on the season, they have now won five of their last six matches after a sluggish start to the season.
"I think that I'm giving them motivation and also constructive criticism to help them get better," Wenta said. "They need (criticism) but it's hard. They know that I'm here to help them to succeed. I'm sure they've not had anybody as intense as me but I think it's good for them."
Lakin coach Steve Davidson was also impressed with what he saw from the Lady Indians.
"Satanta just outplayed us," he said. "They just played better. They play the ball up from their blockers and it allowed them to make better plays. We've just got to move our feet better and get a better front/back row transition. We missed seven or eight serves in there and you just can't give away that many points."
Davidson watched his team post two-set sweeps against Elkhart (25-13, 25-19) and Syracuse (25-14, 25-11).
"Last Tuesday, against Ulysses, we played our best volleyball of the season and then to have this is disappointing," Davidson said. "We'll get back after it (today) and work on those things that we know we can improve."
Lakin will return to HPL action next Tuesday at Southwestern Heights, a team that is 28-1 for the season and 8-0 in league play. Stanton County and Sublette will round out that quadrangular. Lakin drops to 17-10 overall and 7-1 in the league.