Coming into the final week of the regular season, Community Christian volleyball head coach Christina Maynes is looking for her team to find their love for volleyball again.
It was a tough stretch for the defending-champion Royals last week at the Chisholm Trail Conference Tournament. The Royals went 4-2 over two days, which doubled their loss total for the season.
Now with two games left on the schedule before games begin taking on a lot more meaning, Maynes has been asking her team to look inwards as they prepare for their playoff run.
Community Christian once again found itself in a battle on Tuesday night against OKC Storm, trailing by six points midway through the first set. The Royals cut down the deficit late, but ended up falling in the first set 25-21.
The Royals took command in the second set and didn’t look back, closing out the match winning the final three sets (25-17, 25-17 25-23).
“That was not what we’re used to, that type of experience.” Maynes said about the conference tournament. “So we had a renewed enjoyment of the game and our goal in this match was to find our love of volleyball again and enjoy it.
“Because they excel so much at it, it can become more and more normal. It’s not normal. This is a great, fun experience and we want to experience everything well and not just get used to it.”
OKC Storm was able to catch the Royals by surprise early with a group of talented hitters. The Royals were able to regain control in the second set with strong play from their servers, who were able to take OKC Storm out of its offense.
Community Christian went on a 6-1 run early in the second set behind a pair of big kills by Landry Braziel. The Royals continued to go back to Braziel and Victoria Gray with their backs against the wall and the two juniors gave OKC Storm’s block all it could handle.
“It was a little bit more up-and-down than I thought it’d be, but they maintained and they finished,” Maynes said. “That’s what they’re really good at, even if we falter a little bit, they know how to finish.”
OKC Storm came out strong with the match on the line in the fourth set. Back-to-back aces helped pave the way to an early 6-1 lead.
The Royals slowly crawled their way back into the game before riding a 7-1 run to take a 14-12 lead. OKC Storm tied the game 20-20 on a 5-0 run, and eventually led 23-21 before the Royals rattled off four straight points to secure the match.
Ava Bell scored the winning point on an ace.
“I think it’s important for us to go on serving runs and push them out of their serve receive and offense,” Maynes said. “That’s what we really work on a lot and I think that’s to our advantage, because then we can set up a better block, take them out of their offense better, those sorts of things.”
The Royals picked up their 30th win of the season with just one more game against Choctaw left before regionals begin next week. Choctaw enters the game ranked No. 13 in 6A.
“I’m really excited, because we didn’t expect to see a 6A matchup at the end of the season which is a great add,” Maynes said. “I think it’ll be a great prep for regionals next week.”