Bangs opens district action Saturday vs. Dublin

BANGS — Playing the final match before the start of District 6-3A action, an extremely young Bangs Lady Dragons volleyball squad continued to make strides despite coming up short in a 25-11, 25-16, 25-14 loss to the Jim Ned Lady Indians.

The Lady Dragons are about two weeks removed from a coaching change, as girls basketball head coach Kenny Prescott and first-year assistant Cherita George have taken over the program following the resignation of first-year head coach Barbara Burnett, who decided to focus solely on teaching at Bangs ISD, superintendent Tony Truelove said following Tuesday’s contest.

“They’re not necessarily getting all the wins, but they’ve done an awesome job of staying positive,” Prescott said of the Lady Dragons. “We have three seniors, two of those are starters, and they’ve done a good helping the young kids come along. And the younger kids, skill-wise, have done well. We have a lot of young athletes, not necessarily volleyball players. But they’ve done a good job of developing some volleyball skills and pointing their athleticism in the direction of being good volleyball players.”

In the opening set, behind the serving of Ashlynn Emerson, Bangs grabbed a quick 3-0 lead. Jim Ned answered with seven of the next eight points before the Lady Dragons trimmed the deficit to 9-8. The Lady Indians followed with a 10-point outburst before a kill from Vanessa Perez halted the run. But Bangs mustered just two more points the rest of the set, one on a block by Kyra Smith and the other on an errant hit by Jim Ned.

The second set saw Bangs again grab the early advantage, 6-2, as Emerson’s serving played a key role. The Lady Dragons led as late as 12-11 following a double touch call on Jim Ned, but the Lady Indians gradually built a 17-14 advantage. Trailing 19-16, Bangs yielded the final six points of the set.

In the finale, Bangs crept within 10-8 on a kill by Kenzie Baker but got no closer. After a kill by Smith made the score 13-9, Jim Ned fired back with nine straight points to essentially put the set, and match, away.

Despite the loss, Prescott said, “I thought they played well. Definitely our intensity and our scrappiness has stayed there as we try and build and get the skills there. The third set we looked a little tired, so we need to work on our conditioning a little bit and be a little more mentally and physically in shape.”

The Lady Dragons open 6-3A action at noon Saturday against Dublin.

“We feel good about the direction we’re headed,” Prescott said. “These last three or four games, each one has been better than the last so we’re moving in the right direction. We have a tough one against Dublin Saturday, one of the top teams in the district, but I think we’ll be able to go back and forth with them and battle and have some of those 25-23 sets. Maybe some will go our way and we can push them to five. We get them at home so that’ll be good.”