EARLY — The Early Lady Horns’ pre-district campaign concluded with a 25-4, 25-12, 25-7 loss to Jim Ned Saturday, but a fresh start begins Tuesday with the program’s first-ever district contest.

In only their second year of existence, the Lady Horns will compete in District 7-3A volleyball along with Dublin, Comanche and Bangs. Four teams qualify for the playoffs from each district, so regardless of how Early fares in league competition, its first postseason trip is guaranteed.

“The girls have something to play for now, and last year we really didn’t. We were just playing games and worked on getting better and developing,” Early head coach Troy Fry said after Saturday’s match. “This year we have a purpose and something we’re trying to accomplish now.”

Fry felt confident about the Lady Horns’ chances in district action prior to Saturday’s outing, but Early’s offensive hiccup left the first-year head coach craving a more consistent performance.

“After today it’s hard to tell right now,” Fry said. “I feel pretty good. We’re coming around, coming along and making progress in different areas. This past Tuesday we passed the ball really well and today we didn’t. When you’re not making good passes it’s hard to make the set and the hit. We were scrambling most of the day.

“If we could get some consistency going, we could be a lot better.”

Defensively for Early, Beale Madison Gordon recorded a team-high 20 digs while Holly Callaway and Gabby Constancia notched seven apiece. At the net, Ellie Ryan collected a pair of blocks.

The Lady Horns’ district debut is slated for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dublin, which is coming off a four-set loss to Brownwood.