The Lady Cougar fall season has begun. With about half returning and half new players, they took to the court, ready to start their season.

Tuesday, they had their first home match versus the Cristo Rey Flames. The Lady Cougars started off strong in the first set. Junior Celeste Jeoffroy kicked it off with great serves, putting the Cougars in the lead. The team played through some great volleys, moving both well on the court and to the ball. Overall, the team served well but the score bounced back and forth as they had trouble keeping the serve in their favor. Controlled and consistent passing from sophomores Alyssa Briggs and Anna Morris, junior Celeste Jeoffroy and senior Anna Scalf helped keep the ball in Cougar possession. Their court coverage made for some great volleys. The score was very even. Sophomore Bella Aparicio came up to serve again and upped the score with 4 serves deep in the Sparks court, challenging them to return them, putting Cougars ahead 18-16. Senior Adair Garrett came in and returned some tough serves, earning the serve for the Cougars, tying up the score 24-24. After loss of serve, Cougars volleyed, putting balls into the deep Sparks court. Alyssa puts in a beautiful jump serve edging it up 26-25. Alyssa played strong on the net with smart plays to keep the ball in Cougar favor. Even with all the back-and-forth play, the Lady Cougars remained focused and in the game, working together as a team. Alyssa makes another serve but the team does not earn the point, now 26-26. Senior Anika Helm continued with excellent court coverage, this time with 2 great digs, earning back the serve. 27-27. Celeste puts away two more serves, backed by the Lady Cougars defense for the win, 29-27.

Game 2 starts off well with a couple of strong volleys. Sophomore Sophia Rohlings has some key passes keeping the ball in play. Freshman Alaina Watson was a fresh new presence on the Cougar court with great passing along with tough serving, putting away 6 consecutive serves, taking the Cougars into the lead, 7-5.  Anika continued to pick up many errant balls keeping the Cougars close. Anna Scalf again was a strong presence on the net with great coverage. Score is now 22-17. Alyssa on the net, playing well with picked up passes keeping the ball alive. Bella gets a dig earning back the serve, 24-23. Adair serves but Cougars lose the volley. Tough serves from Cristo Rey broke the Cougars, they lost this set 24-26.

Game 3 starts off slowly, and the Cougars struggle with serve return. They get into a bit of rut and fall behind early on. Alyssa brings 3 strong consecutive jump serves trying to turn the tides. Celeste, Anna and Anika continue to pick up some great dumps and passes but Cougars can’t pull out of it, they fall 13-25.

Game 4 also started slow, and they struggle to find their groove. Passing troubles hold them back. While their serves were in, they had difficulty keeping the serve. There were some exciting volleys but it wasn’t enough to get back in the game. The Flames take this game and the match, 13-25.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Lady Cougars met up with Sugar Hill Christian Academy. While this match ended up going to the Stallions, 8-25, 6-25 and 11-25, the Lady Cougars learned some valuable lessons. The Stallion offense played wisely and often used the open Cougar court to their advantage. The Cougars had trouble both with serving accuracy as well as serve return. There were some notable volleys and plays made by the Lady Cougars in this match. However, the real lesson learned was the eye-opening reality of the importance of the basic skills of passing, serving, communication and teamwork. The example of seeing a team effectively run an offense shows us what we are working towards. It also provides a great example for our work on defense and court coverage. The Lady Cougars will hit the courts for practice in the coming days to get ready for their next away match at The Howard School on September 1.