Waldron volleyball looks to overcome early question marks
By Dennis Marshall
After take over as head coach of Waldron volleyball team midway through last season, coach Toby Hollin said this group of girls is the most solid team she has had in her 10 years of coaching.
"Last year we were really up in the air with a lot of changes," Hollin said. "This summer the biggest thing we did was try to pull them together and do a lot of team bonding stuff together. It's been great. We have no divisions on this team right now. We may not the tallest or the fastest, but we are going to be a very solid defensive team."
The Lady Bulldogs lost to the Mena Ladycats in three straight sets on Thursday at home.
Waldron struggled in its first two set against Mena losing 25-10, 25-12, before playing much more competitive in the third set, 25-20.
"We started out a little rocky," Hollin said. "But once we actually got into it, we came together as a team and really stepped up that third set."
Hollin said Bayleigh Lipham, Mackinzie Callahan and Sam Slater were the main standout against the Ladycats.
"[Lipham] is just the most level-headed, solid kid all the way around the floor," Hollin said. "[Callahan] is a rock. She has everything pulled together out. [Slater] picked up several [hits] not just in her position, but she was able to cover positions at the same thing. She did a real good job."
Waldron then traveled to Mena on Saturday to take part in the Ladycats' annual tournament.
Waldron lost to Lakeside, Arkadelphia and Mena in pool play, and split their matchup with Ashdown.
"We started out sluggish, but throughout the day it picked up the same as it did in the game against Mena," Hollin said. "We just have to work on coming a little stronger."
After pool play, the Lady Bulldogs qualified for the silver tournament and took on Mansfield in the opening round.
The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Lady Tigers 25-19, 25-23.
"It was great," Hollin said. "We just played like a solid team. Usually there are huge standouts, but it was a complete team victory where we came out and played together.
"We are not a team that is based on individual," she continued. "We are a team that plays as whole and when we play together we are pretty good."
Arkadelphia defeated Waldron 25-22, 25-19 in the second round of the silver tournament.
Hollin said she was pleased with her team's performance against Arkadelphia's impressive athletes.
"They are great team and their coach has been awesome," she said. "There were some passes that we missed that we should have got, but for the most part, it was good match for my girls. They really liked the competition level and it was a toss up whether we were going to win or not."
Arkadelphia defeated Waldron again in the championship game of the silver bracket. This time by the score of 25-16, 18-25, 15-10.
Hollin said it was rewarding to win a set against the Lady Badgers.
"The energy level of my girls that last game, it was the best energy we have had all season," Hollin said. "It was great as far as enthusiasm and stuff like that."
Hollin said if she had to name a standout player from her for the tournament it would be Lipham.
"She was all over the floor," Hollin said. "Some of our passes weren't great but she was able to pick them up and put them where she needed to place them for us to be where we needed to be.
"Besides [Lipham] it would probably be [Callahan] and [Slater] again," she continued. "[Callahan] is my leader on the floor. When we are down, she always picks us up. She is a great leader for this group, and [Slater] has dug balls that I thought nobody would be able to get. She went after them and she picked them up for us."
"My biggest emphasis is the fact that we play together no matter the outcome," Hollin said. "We are coming with new coaches and different players and we're bringing it all together."
Waldron traveled to Paris on Tuesday and they will travel to Lavaca on Thursday.