DALLAS - A strong tournament showing gave the Dragons volleyball team some momentum going into conference play last week, but they were unable to keep it going against Crescent Valley and South Albany. On Sept. 10 the Dragons fell in three games at home to one of the top teams in the conference, Crescent Valley. They looked for a little redemption as they traveled to South Albany Thursday evening. Photo by Landon Kafka Remington Unfortunately, during the first two games against South Albany, it was much of same as they were defeated 25-18 in both games.However, coach Shana Lavier got the Dragons noticeably fired up for the third game of the match. "I just told them this isn't how we practice, this isn't how we play and we all know we are better than that," Lavier said.It seemed the long point scoring rallies in the first two games of the match had the Dragons down on themselves, but that motivation was enough for them to come back strong and win the third game 25-13 before dropping the fourth game, and match, 25-19.Senior outside hitter Kiley Barcroft finished the match with 10 kills and 20 digs. Junior middle hitter Chanel Bailey added 11 kills and junior defensive specialist Danielle Remington had 16 digs."We really need to stay focused and positive on the court," Barcroft said. "It is really more of a mental game for us."The Dragons are starting to believe they are a better team than last year, but it has been a process to build that confidence. Photo by Landon Kafka Barcroft "Last year was kind of a negative season, and that carries over when we start getting down in matches," Barcroft said. "In the third and fourth set I think we showed we can win, we saw what we can really do."Lavier and the players recognize that momentum is a huge part of the game, and so far they have been on the short end due to frequent slow starts that have a way of snowballing into losses for the team. "(Against South Albany) we just came out flat," Lavier said. "We need to be more mentally prepared from the start and come out firing.""It comes down to proving to ourselves that we are better than that," junior setter Amanda Dankenbring added.The team played without the versatility of senior defensive specialist Taylor Dodge, who is out with a back injury but hopes to be back in action this week."I was proud of how they made adjustments without Taylor, but we still had a rough tournament over the weekend," Lavier said. That tournament saw the Dragons split with South Eugene (25-23, 15-25), and Summit (18-25, 25-14) before being downed by Corvallis 25-14 and 25-8 in bracket play."Crescent Valley, Corvallis and West Albany are some of the best teams in the state, so we are going to try and stay positive and get the confidence level back up," Lavier said. The Dragons will take on Corvallis at home on Thursday night.