By KEVIN THOMPSON
LAKIN — As the regular volleyball season enters its second half, all teams are looking for consistency and momentum heading toward sub-state.
A triangular at the home of the Broncs in Lakin pitted three Hi-Plains League teams, all in different classifications, against one another, with the host school winning both matches.
For Lakin coach Steve Davidson, it was a chance to see his team move its record to 10-3 with its competitiveness but also see spots to shore up.
"There's definitely room to grow," he said. "We started out the first match — the first 15 points, at least — playing pretty well, but then we seemed to go a little flat."
In that first match against Satanta, the Lady Broncs won the first set with relative ease, 25-17.
In the second set, however, Satanta took a quick 9-3 lead before Lakin called time out to stem the tide, the "little flat" to which Davidson referred.
His strategy seemed to work as his team got right back into it, finally tied it up at 16-16, then held on for a narrow 25-22 win.
The final match-up for the Broncs saw relatively easier wins over Stanton County, 25-13 and 25-15.
"That match, we played pretty well," Davidson said. "If we pass the ball well, we've got girls who can put the ball away. That's what it's all about."
After Stanton County tied the first set at 8, Lakin reeled off seven straight and cruised from there.
In set two, the Broncs were up 11-3 before the Trojans got on a short run to cut it to 15-13, but held serve behind Mariah Watkins for eight straight to cruise again.
The opponents' mini-streaks, Davidson said, were a sign that his girls had a lapse in focus.
"We battled when we weren't playing well and we hung in there," he said. "That's a good thing for the girls, when you're not playing your best and don't give up."
The Lady Indians used the momentum from their second-game loss to Lakin to carry into their next match-up against Stanton County, a team they had already beaten twice this season.
But the third time proved tough, as Satanta held on to defeat the Lady Trojans in three sets.
Satanta coach Ashton Wenta said her girls showed how they sometimes play to the opponents' ability, which can be good and bad.
"We're working on how to get across hustle and heart," Wenta said. "We're working every day on having pride. They have the desire to win; they don't know how yet."
Wenta likes her team's talent and athleticism, so it's hard to see how teams defeat them.
But that's what the second half of the season is for, she said, to help get her girls to maintain their enthusiasm to win and take that towards the postseason.
Losing the second set to the Trojans, down by as much as 19-8, but then bouncing back to dominate the third, Wenta said, shows that her team is capable, but they have to believe it.
"It's that whole thing about zero to 25," she said. "We've got to play well, from zero to 5, five to 10."
Doing that would put her team far above .500 instead of just at 7-6, she said.
Stanton County coach Jill Scott, whose team now stands at 5-11, said the record does not reflect the effort.
"We are athletic. And one of the nice things this year is we're tall," she said. "We get a lot of touches, but one of these days they're going to be full-on blocks."
Scott's team this year is young, with just two seniors and the rest freshmen and sophomores.
But that means they know how important focusing on the basics is right now. Heading into the second half of the season, Scott said, that's when they can put it together and show people what they've got.
"Good things are happening. They're just not all happening at the same time," she said.