By Vern Hee
The Beatty Hornets volleyball team started off the season with a lot of promise.
Coach Steve Sullivan, head volleyball coach, had great expectations for his team. He was loaded with veteran players. So he felt comfortable in saying at the Pahrump Invitational Volleyball Tournament in August that he expected his team to be in the Division IV playoffs.
His team did make the playoffs, but barely. Sullivan’s team still could not win the games they had to and lost to both rivals Tonopah and Alamo during the regular season. Both rival teams finished the season at the state championship game with Tonopah winning the title.
Beatty finished the volleyball season 3-4 in league play and 4-9 overall. For Coach Sullivan the season was a disappointing one.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I am very unhappy with this season. When we started, things were looking great. We noticed issues early in the season and we were able to fix them, and the girls displayed those improvements at the Trona, California tournament by taking first place. Yet, it seemed like the team peaked too early, and after Trona they were just never really able to get back to that level, and a season that should have been more victorious, which ended with us going to the state tournament, ended up being more with us struggling to survive out on the court. That is what happened to us at Lund,” said Sullivan.
The girls made it to the divisional playoffs where they went up against Lund. Sullivan wanted his girls to show Lund some offense but that did not happen.
“I told the girls you can’t let this game get close because if you do they will take it. First set we had about an eight point lead and lost it. Then in the second the girls were rattled from the first set and lost the second one. After the second set I told them this is it, either you start playing your game or you’re going home. They came out and took control of the 3rd and 4th sets winning easily. Then in the 5th set the score was 14-11 us, and for some reason the girls just started making bad decisions, which they had been doing all night, and they let Lund win 22-20. Toward the end of the match my middle hitters only wanted to tip, and my outside hitters were aggressively attacking, but since my setters predominantly set to the middle, even when my outside hitters are on fire, Lund was able to easily receive the ball and execute their offense,” he said.
The experience of the seniors should have led the team to victory but something went wrong.
“With six experienced seniors on the team you expect them to be more assertive and game conscientious but I’ve learned that is not something you can expect and I will address that in the future,” Sullivan said.
Next year for the Hornets will be a new year with a very young team and different options.
“I’ll have a young team next year so we will work on finding our hitters and what kind of offense we will be able to run,” Sullivan said.
On his defense he knows he will have to change because he loses some experienced players.
“Defensively, we will have to change because I am losing height so we will have to rely on covering the floor and digs, which we have improved at a lot this year. I am not sure who will be starting next year let alone who will be on varsity. I tell these girls every year is a new year and what you did last year doesn’t mean anything. All I know is that next year I will have a lot of younger athletes to choose from,” remarked Sullivan.
Two Hornets received end of the year honors: Melynda Gross made Second Team, Christina Thompson made Honorable Mention.