DALLAS — Failing to find a consistent pace on the court, the Dragons volleyball team suffered a week of marginal losses as it closed out its first half of the season.
Tuesday night, it faced a 3-2 loss at Silverton (5-9 overall, 5-6 Mid-Willamette Conference). Thursday, the team couldn’t put the finishing touches on its game to pick up the win, falling instead 3-2 against the Crescent Valley Raiders.
Dominating the first and third sets with 25-16 and 25-13 victories, respectively, the Dragons (9-10 overall, 5-6 MWC) flailed in the remaining three sets by just a few points: 25-21, 23-21, and 15-13, respectively.
Struggling with consistency is something the team has been dealing with all season, said head coach Kayce Lilley. “The CV game was a tough loss for us,” she said. “We’re still working to consistently get our offense, defense and effort all flowing at the same time, and when we do, we are a really tough team.”
Senior Maya Davison describes the lack of execution as the team “never firing on all cylinders.”
“We focus too much on one thing and then can’t fire on all cylinders,” she said. “We have our offense running but no defense, or our defense is working hard, and we can’t put the ball down. We’re too focused on one thing instead of focusing a little in each place.”
The game was a battle from the beginning; after each point the Raiders scored, the Dragons responded with a score of their own. The second set was colored by a rally that had multiple Dallas players diving for the ball and nabbing it in the nick of time, tipping it back into the court to keep it in play.
The team never stopped trying to win.
“While we’ve got some things to work out still, there were lots of good things Thursday night as well,” Lilley said. “Our defense has improved so much; we’ve become a really scrappy team that goes all out for every ball. We’re playing with more heart and working together better.”
This was the Dragon’s second time facing the Raiders (5-13 overall, 4-6 MWC). The first contest on Sept. 19, the Dragons won 3-2.
Even though the team lost, Davison said she was proud of how the team fought in the five-set game.
“We worked hard. I think this was a game where we felt like we won it, but the numbers didn’t show it.”
Benched because of an injury early into the season, this game was Davison’s debut back onto the court.
She’s happy to be back.
“It’s my home away from home,” she said. “On the court is where I wanna be 24/7. Watching is the hardest thing ever, but it feels so good to be back and making my mark a little bit.”
For the week, senior Hailey Van Well led with 35 kills, 52 digs and two blocks. Senior Taylor Williams added 24 kills, 32 digs and eight blocks. Senior Ellie Osborn nabbed 39 digs and two aces.
Over the weekend, the Dragons participated in the Clearwater Volleyball Invitational in Bend, where the girls fell 2-0 to South Eugene (14-6 overall, 5-1 Southwest Conference), lost 2-1 to Ashland (10-6 overall, 7-3 Midwestern League), and recorded a 2-1 victory against Sandy (7-13 overall, 7-3 Mt. Hood Conference).
This week marks the second half of the season.
“We played pretty well this weekend at the Clearwater Classic and hopefully that gives us some momentum as we move into this week’s games,” Lilley said. “With our doubleheader Tuesday versus Corvallis (11-4 overall, 10-1 MWC) and West Albany (17-2 overall, 11-0 MWC), and our rivalry match Thursday, we’ve got to be dialed in and ready to go see if we can surprise some people.”