AUSTIN — The Killeen Lady Kangaroos entered the 2014 season with a new head coach and wanted to use the Austin ISD Jason Landers Invitational as a way to get some more matches and experience under their collective belts.
“It’s very valuable,” junior setter Crystal Innocent said about tournament play.
“Touching the ball, every person getting on the court and playing time, learning where you need to be and how we need to react to each other is very important.”
Killeen took on teams from Austin, Waco and the Hill Country during the three-day, 30-team tournament and placed eighth in the silver bracket over the weekend.
Joanne Knowles took over as the program’s new coach and opened the regular season with a road win at Lago Vista.
In the tournamanet, Killeen got off to a good start in group play by beating Austin Reagan 2-0 (25-8, 25-16) and Waco 2-1 (25-8, 23-25, 25-14) and losing to Austin Ann Richards 2-0 (25-13, 25-19) on Friday.
Junior middle blocker Nadia Richardson and senior outside hitter Sabrina Garcia had four kills apiece in the win over Reagan while Innocent led the way with 26 assists against Waco.
Innocent added nine assists against Ann Richards and Garcia had six kills.
The Lady Roos did drop the final six matches of the tournament, starting with the Friday morning game against host Austin Bowie (25-8, 25-14). Killeen also fell to Fredericksburg 2-0 (25-10, 25-16) and Austin McCallum 2-0 (25-15, 25-22).
Against McCallum, Garcia had 10 kills and eight digs.
Killeen was swept by Robinson (25-7, 25-14) to open silver bracket play and had hard-fought, three-game losses to host Austin Akins (25-20, 18-25, 25-23) and McCallum (22-25, 25-19, 25-20).
“Starting out the tournament, we weren’t talking that much and we didn’t have high energy,” Richardson said after the Akins game. “I think that’s something we picked up during this game and that’s something that we can take to all of our games.”
The Lady Roos will play for the first time in their home gym on Tuesday when they host Robinson at 6:30 p.m.