BANGS — The Bangs Lady Dragons have reached the Class 2A state volleyball playoffs five consecutive seasons, but during that run a district championship had eluded them. In 2009, the Lady Dragons plan to right that wrong.
With their sights set on capturing the District 8-2A championship, the Lady Dragons open their second season under head coach Meredyth Meador today as they host Santa Anna and Veribest in a dual match beginning at 10 a.m.
“I really feel like we’re in for a district title,” said Meador, whose team posted a 23-14 record and third-place finish in 8-2A a year ago. “The other two playoff teams (district champion Grape Creek and runner-up Eastland) lost some big girls. We just have to keep working together. Our goal this year is to attack everything — attack practice, attack the floor, attack the hits, attack the other teams. That’s the motto on the back of our shirts.”
Bangs dropped its bi-district playoff contest to No. 6 Peaster last season, which went on to the Region I-2A finals. Meador feels playing a team of that caliber can only help the Lady Dragons improve for the coming season.
“The girls learned you have to make a lot of adjustments in games real fast,” Meador said. “Peaster plays a different kind of ball; they hit the ball hard and they’re fast. All year we had run a big double block and we came up against them and had to pull it off. We panicked in the first two sets, but in the third set the girls finally adjusted and realized we could play with them, and that pulled them out of their game.”
The Lady Dragons welcome back three seniors — Drea Evers, Nette Evers and Kelsey Laird — from last year’s playoff team, along with a pair of juniors — Laryn Cantu and Taylor Vasquez — and two sophomores — Keirstin Williams and Beth Mullins. New additions to the roster this season include Jobi Roberts and transfer Danielle Pritchard.
“Right now I see a lot of team chemistry and that’s something I want to keep,” Meador said. “The girls are meshing right now, and I want us to keep working together.”
The Lady Dragon seniors agree that camaraderie and coming together as a team will be one of the biggest keys this season.
“We can’t let our teammates down and go down the wrong path,” said Nette Evers.
Added Drea Evers, “We have to stay together as a team and play as a team.”
Bangs boasts one of its tallest teams this season, and Meador and company are counting on the Lady Dragons’ height advantage to pay huge dividends.
“We’re very tall this year, and I want to see them hitting and getting the ball where we want it to be, not just lucking out and getting it over the net,” Meador said.
Added Laird, “We’re pretty good pretty good at hitting and we block good, but we need to work on our digging and moving our feet to get to the ball.”
The Lady Dragons are focusing more on fundamentals in practice, which Meador feels will help Bangs out of any potential jams it may run into during the course of a match.
“We need to work on the fundamentals, just the basics,” Meador said. “That’s what’s going to get us through. Every time we’re in trouble, that’s what we have to go to.”
Bangs’ non-district home schedule includes another dual match against Breckenridge and Gorman on Aug. 18, along with contests against Bronte (Sept. 15), Miles (Sept. 22) and the Lady Dragon tournament (Sept. 10 and 12).
District 8-2A action begins Sept. 26 at Colorado City and concludes at Eastland on Oct. 27. The first home district match is slated for Sept. 29 against Grape Creek.