William Monroe High School’s volleyball team opened up their season last Thursday against crosstown rival Madison County High School, where the Dragons fell 3-1 to the Mountaineers.
Despite facing their rivals in the first game of the season, Monroe’s head coach Leah Wimmer said the game started the team off on a strong note. The Dragons lost to Madison 0- 3 in both matchups last season.
“We’re coming out and starting our season on a really strong foot. We’re realizing that this is the kind of competition that we’re going to go against all season,” she said. “Madison is a great team and coach Hardy is a great coach, so being able to play with them and have such a close game is exciting. We can look back at this game now and see some things we did well and what we can improve on and use that in our future games.”
The Dragons came back from a 3-point deficit in the first set and tied the match up 17-17. The tie continued into point 24 after Madison’s Abigail Tanner made a miraculous save for the Mountaineers. Tanner followed that up with a kill, and Emily Dodson sealed the first set with a 27-25 win for Madison. The close matches continued into the second set, with both teams finding themselves tied again at 23, but Madison emerged with the victory again; 23-25.
Sophomore Mara Woolford helped the Dragons edge ahead in the third set with a kill followed almost immediately by an ace. Woolford would finish the third set with three kills and two aces. Paired with five aces and two kills from senior Morgan Lam, Monroe took set three with a 25-22 win.
“Mara did an amazing job. She’s a very versatile player, so she’s a huge asset to us,” Wimmer said. “Her versatility and her athleticism have been huge for us because she can play at any position. Morgan did another really great job. Morgan and Mara did a great job trying to find the holes, being aggressive with their hits and being smart with them as well.”
But Monroe didn’t see such a close game in the fourth set, falling 25-10 to the Mountaineers.
“I think the last one we just weren’t there all the way. We just need to do a lot more of the high tempo, quick sets in practice so that we can finish on point 16 of the fifth game,” Wimmer said.
Despite the loss, Wimmer said the team is connecting more than in the past, which will propel them to more wins this season.
“Having that tight bond is helping the team. They’re trusting each other, they’re playing well together, they’re supporting each other,” she said. “It’s early in the season and we’re still trying to figure some things out, but I’m proud of how well they played today. Their desire to learn and fix things and be successful is going to help us a lot. We feel like this is going to be our year.”
Woolford finished with eight kills, three aces and one block; Lam eight kills, five aces and one block; sophomore Brianna Adderley with four kills; sophomore Ava Alvarez with three kills, two aces and three blocks; and freshmen Ella Weaver with four kills and two blocks.
The team will face Madison again on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at Madison.