Before starting the second half of the District 12-6A race Tuesday night, the Shoemaker volleyball staff asked the Lady Grey Wolves players what their ultimate goal for the season was.
“I don’t want to hear, ‘I want to make it to the playoffs,’” head coach Merdith Shaw-Moore said of the conversation, “‘and I don’t want to hear getting the ball to the target.’
“It’s about being hungry and taking it one game at a time and leaving every single thing you’ve got on the floor.”
The Lady Grey Wolves took that conversation to heart as they swept Harker Heights Tuesday.
Shoemaker took the first set 25-21, but the second set started off with the Lady Grey Wolves trailing 11-4 before being forced to call a timeout.
“Our team captain stepped into the circle at the timeout,” said Moore of senior Alexia Wilkinson. “She’s passionate about the game, and she wants to win.”
Wilkinson is an athlete who prefers to lead by her actions.
“I have to step up and do my job,” she said, “and y’all follow suit.”
Shoemaker came back to take the set 25-21 with five kills from Wilkinson before completing the sweep against the Lady Knights with a 25-21 win in the final set.
“The thing about volleyball is you play everybody twice,” Moore said. “So, it doesn’t matter what happens the first time.
“You learn from that first game — whether you win or lose — and then, that second time you play them, you make adjustments and try not to make the same mistakes you made in the first match.”
Much of the Lady Grey Wolves’ preparation for the next round of district included a lot of time in the film room and running drills.
“I can’t take credit for what’s happening over here at Shoemaker,” Moore said. “I have an outstanding assistant and staff.”
“I give my assistant (Clarneva Pierre) a lot of credit. She’s a diamond in the rough. She keeps me focused on what’s in front of me and not what’s behind me or what’s too far ahead.”
And while Moore and her team needed the win to boost their confidence moving forward, they know it’s only just the beginning.
“It’s always a good feeling to win,” Moore said, “but it’ll be a short celebration, because we know what we’ve got coming up.
“We’re just going to look forward to the next game.”
The Lady Grey Wolves travel to Belton tonight to face the Lady Tigers at 5:30 p.m.
“All hands on deck,” Moore said. “We’ve got to stay focused, stay motivated and stay positive.
“Win or lose, leave knowing that you left everything you’ve got on the floor.”