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Olfen Mustangs fall to Veribest Lady Falcons in volleyball

Staff Writer
Runnels County Register
Veribest Lady Falcon, Kennadi Wheeless (#1), prepares to spike the ball as Olfen's Desiree Medina defends at the net.

The Veribest Lady Falcons hosted the Olfen Mustangs on Tuesday night. Many scores for Veribest on Max Preps are incomplete, but it’s safe to say that the Lady Falcons are a strong team that will contend for a district championship this year. They’ve taken down Grape Creek, Loraine and the 2017 1A state champions, Bronte. The Bronte Longhorns went 30-13 last season and are once again proving that they can go the distance. It was a great barometer for Veribest, who came away with a win.

The Olfen Mustangs are 1-7 on the season. They opened 2020 with a victory over the Rising Star Wildcats. Since then, the Mustangs haven’t found much success on the court. It’s to be expected considering that the team is in a rebuilding phase and only had 7 players dressed out for the game, while Veribest had 11 players dressed out.

To be fair to the Mustangs, they’ve lost some close matches. Against Rochelle they lost 25-14, 25-20, 25-16, respectively. They had some surges and showed some grit. The game against Rankin was another tough one, as the Mustangs fell 25-14, 25-19, 25-20, respectively. The Mustangs’ game against Loraine was the closest of the season, as they fell 27-25, 25-19, 25-18, respectively. They’re a team still trying to put the pieces together, but they’re also needing to find more pieces to add some depth to their roster. Head Coach Lizette Paceley has done a commendable job of getting the girls ready for their games. She’s mastered calling time outs when she sees an opportunity for her team to capitalize on something that opposition is, or is not, doing.

Veribest is a strong contender that has the fundamentals down and is going to be a problem for any team that they face this season. They took Olfen down, 25-8, 25-8, 25-11, respectively, in a game that lasted less than an hour. The girls are excellent at digging out serves, setting the ball perfectly and allowing their powerful spikers to get open shots. During the game against Olfen, the ball only landed once on the Lady Falcons side without someone diving for it. That was the only miscommunication and they quickly rectified the situation by going back on the attack the next time that they had the serve. They have some powerful serves, but they also have finesse serves. They read other teams like an open book. Several times they knew right where to serve the ball to cause confusion on the Olfen side. Knowing and getting the ball to that spot are sometimes completely different animals, but the Lady Falcons executed it almost flawlessly.

The Mustangs did manage to dig out some serves and spike a few balls into the Lady Falcons’ court. The Mustangs needed to execute a little better on setting the ball. Many times, rather than attempt to set it, they simply hit it over the net. This, again, is mainly a communication issue and the girls improved as the game progressed. They stopped giving up easy points and were even within 2 goals of the Lady Falcons at one time.

Overall, it was a game that the Falcons were expected to win, and they did. The pleasant surprise, was watching the game of the Mustangs evolve as they improved throughout play. They’re a team where every player wants to prove herself on every serve and sometimes, the finesse touch is better than trying to drive it into the floor on the other side of the net. But, they’re learning. They’re an intelligent team, led by an intelligent coach and that’s more than enough for them to get settled in, work out the wrinkles to be in good shape for the rest of district play.

Veribest's Olivia Abbott (#3), sets the ball as spiker Cora Blackwell (#11), gets ready to do work.