Yet, that’s where the Lady Wildcats stand following their victory over Geraldine Tuesday. The scores were 25-17, 25-14 and 25-23.
The secret to their early success has been Bates pushing them to their limit at practice. She hasn’t given them a day off, adding “we’ve practiced harder this year than I think we’ve practiced in a long time.”
“They deserve this kind of start because they’ve really worked for it,” Bates said following Tuesday’s win. “I’m proud of them. We knew it was going to be a challenge today because Geraldine’s got a strong program. I wanted to see what we were made of, and I told them we’d find out today. When we fight, when we battle and when we’re aggressive, good things happen.”
Senior outside hitters Amber Ashley and Kelsey Hayes led the Lady Wildcats on Tuesday. Ashley managed 17 kills and three aces, while Hayes contributed 17 digs and four kills.
Junior middle hitter Madison Smith posted 13 kills and 18 digs. Sophomore setter Ashley Norris finished with 31 assists.
“Amber and Kelsey give us some good outside play, and I thought Ashley did a good job of getting them the ball,” Bates said. “Madison Smith does a good job in the middle hitting for us. She reacts well to the game. We’ve got some girls with some good reaction times. They’re not letting balls fall, and they’re not giving up. They’re playing every ball until they absolutely can’t. We’re proud of them for the effort.”
Sand Rock jumped out to a 14-5 advantage in game one before Geraldine (3-4) rallied within three points at 20-17. The Lady Wildcats closed out the game scoring the final five points to a 1-0 lead in the match.
The second game was similar to the first, with the Lady Wildcats running out to an early lead and maintaining it throughout.
The third game, however, was bit more competitive. Geraldine jumped out to a 14-10 advantage before Sand Rock rallied mid-game to take the lead. Both teams battled back and forth down the stretch before the game and match ended on a kill by Hayes.
“I’m pleased with how we’re progressing, but I don’t want to peak too soon,” Bates said. “We’ve got good chemistry right now and good flow between the players. I hope we keep getting better every game.”