GATESVILLE The Gatesville Lady Hornets volleyball team is young, touting only five seniors.
Despite the overall lack of experience coach Ricky Phillips still carries high expectations for his squad.
"Our goal is the same every year; we want to be one of the best teams in class 3A and we want to win a district championship," said Phillips. "We want to be better than the year before."
The Hornets were off to a good start to the season Monday night after they defeated Waco University in three games, 25-12, 25-20, 25-16, to open the season with a victory. Behind seniors Paige Chambers and Ashley Cook, Gatesville was able to use timely serves and smarter play to net the win. Chambers led all players with 28 assists and six aces.
"Those two are our strongest tandem but we definitely have to work in more guys into our offense because you have to have more weapons than that," Phillips said. "I kind of worried about our underclassmen because the Lady Trojans are playing well and they challenge you a lot. So we leaned on our seniors a bunch."
Midway through the second game, Gatesville saw itself trailing the Lady Trojans 15-13 when Chambers served back-to-back aces to take the lead and then led her squad to three more points building a 18-15 lead.
She iced the game with back-to-back assists to Ashley Cook and senior Lauren Nichols.
"I played off our passers and hitters. It was pretty much them, not really me," Chambers said. "I just felt confident at the time so I served as hard as I could and it just happened."
With a 4-1 lead Chambers helped build an 8-1 lead that Cook ballooned to 13-3 with some savvy serves of her own.
"It's trust. We trust that (Chambers) is gonna get the ball over and we are gonna get the first pass so we can run something," Cook said. "It's (also) communication. When someone sees that spots been open a few times, they'll tell you to hit there."
Gatesville, which hosts Ellison tonight at 7 p.m., did get some help from sophomore Lexi Hall who helped secure the third and final game with some pretty clutch serving of her own.
Gatesville had a slim 11-9 lead when Hall took the ball and ran with it, figuratively speaking.
She spun off six points in a row to extend the lead 16-9, all but ending any Lady Trojan comeback chances.
"It was kind of sluggish and ragtag at times but our kids did a lot of good things and we improved in some areas that we struggled in during the weekend scrimmages," Phillips said. "We have some sophomores that are new to varsity and they have to learn the pace of the game, once they do that they can get a lot more swings than they do right now."