If the Union volleyball Lady ’Cats learned anything from Tuesday’s home jamboree, it’s that there’s plenty of room for improvement.
“We ran four different lineups tonight just to try things out,” Union Head Coach Kelli Bailey said. “A lot of girls stepped up in different positions. We did not win a set, but we made it to the cap in the last game against Pacific and I can’t be mad about that. We had four girls who also play on JV in there and they’re trying to make those connections. We’re still trying to figure out where they’re going to be more beneficial to the team.”
Bailey said all areas need work before the season starts, especially offense.
“We do the same high outside, high middle and high back sets because the passing isn’t there,” Bailey said. “Ultimately, we’re working on everything. We have to make the connections and make those hits. We can’t be so transparent with what we are doing. We have to make the other teams think about what we’re going to do next. We have to work on serve receive and quicks. We’ve got to be able to compete with the big blocks up there.”
The Lady ’Cats hosted Francis Howell Central, Seckman and Pacific in a four-team event.
Union fell in all three of its scrimmages. Each scrimmage set was started at 10-10 and played to the normal 25 points. There was a hard cap of 28 points for a set and that was reached twice.
• Seckman defeated Union, 25-17, 25-23;
• Francis Howell Central defeated Union, 25-21, 25-15; and
• Pacific defeated Union, 25-18, 28-26.
The good news for Union was that none of the results counted for the record.
For the event, Francis Howell Central went undefeated, defeating Pacific, 28-27, 25-17, and Seckman, 25-21, 26-24.
Seckman also defeated Pacific, 25-21, 26-24.
Bailey saw several positives in the matches.
Union played close games against all three teams.
“We will see Pacific again as they are in our conference,” Bailey said. “We hung right with them.”
Union has been working around roster changes through practices. The team is down to three seniors, Laura Borgmann, Haillie Brown and Natalie Voss.
During the jamboree, Union scrambled to find offense and a number of players contributed at the net, including Borgmann, Voss, Maddie Helling, Emma Rinne, Tamyra Stafford, Jessica Stallmann, Aubrie Brown and Jaiden Powell.
Haillie Brown paced the defense as the libero.
Union’s serving didn’t yield as many aces in the past, but it also didn’t result in as many service errors.
In only one set was Union outmatched, struggling in the second game against Francis Howell Central.
Bailey was happy to face different teams.
“It gets to be difficult scrimmaging against the JV and Freshman teams that you see every day,” she said. “It is nice to see some of these Class 4 teams that we will see later in the season. We will see Seckman again.”
Union was moved up to Class 4 for this season, MSHSAA announced last Friday. The Lady ’Cats go from Class 3 to the Class 4 “District of Death,” which includes defending state champion Eureka and runner-up Lafayette.
“We definitely have our work cut out for us,” Bailey said. “We’re going to learn a lot about ourselves in this district. We were making great strides toward becoming competitive against the teams we had seen in our old district. We won’t see many of these teams in the regular season, but we will play teams they play. This team wants to be a tight-knit group that never gives up.”
The Lady ’Cats still have time to get things worked out before Tuesday’s home opener against Potosi. Varsity action is slated for 6 p.m.
Union also hosts Windsor next Thursday with the varsity match set for 6 p.m.