Lady Dragons drop season opener against La Monte in 3 sets

Chris Bowie
Bunceton senior Alyssa Welch goes up for a block in the first set against La Monte Monday night in the season opener at Bunceton. The Lady Dragons fell in three sets against the Vikings by the scores of 14-25, 8-25 and 11-25.

The Bunceton Lady Dragons volleyball team kicked off the 2020 season with high hopes going into Monday night’s match against the La Monte Vikings.

Although the Vikings returned three starters back from last year’s team, Bunceton coach Dustin Ray said he saw some positives.

“I said in the first interview we had that my setters are going to have to do their job and I thought they did a great job,” Ray said. “I thought they were in a place, they gave us a chance to hit all night so I commend them for that. They rose to the challenge. I also thought we had some good rallies tonight. We made it tough on them. We just didn't hand them anything. They had to earn it there for a while, but it just seemed like when we got down we stayed down.”

La Monte won in three straight sets against Bunceton 25-14, 25-8 and 25-11.

In only its sixth season of volleyball, Ray said you could tell that the first game jitters definitely got the best of his team. Meanwhile, in the second set, he said the team just couldn’t sideout.

“We could return a serve and when we were serving we had trouble getting it over the net,”Ray said. The third set I'm not going to say we gave up but it didn't feel like we were whole-heartedly there for the entire set. I think that's the biggest plus side of the night is the fact that we were able to get on the court and we were able to play a game with all the uncertainties I'm glad we were able to get out here and play against somebody else.”

The Vikings trailed just once the entire night as Bunceton took a 1-0 lead in set three on the kill by senior Kaelyn Crews. The rest of the night belonged to La Monte, who was stronger at the net and better in both serve-receive and serving.

The Lady Vikings held a 11 point lead on three different occasions in the first set at 18-7, 24-13 and 25-14. Meanwhile, in the second set, Bunceton tied the match at 3-all after a serve by sophomore Madison Brown. The Lady Dragons never got any closer as La Monte came back and reeled off eight straight to go up 17-5 and then closed out the set with three straight points on Bunceton errors. In the final set, Bunceton played its best set by battling La Monte to two ties at 1-1 and 6-6. However, after a 5-0 run by the Vikings to go up 16-8, the Lady Dragons didn’t seem to have anything left in the tank while scoring just three points for the rest of the set.

Ray said the team will definitely need to work on serve-receive and communication. “The biggest thing is just being able to communicate and learn how to work together as a team,” Ray said. “Again, I thought Kylee (Myers) and Bella (Vaca) both set well and did a really good job. They gave us a chance all night.”

Brown led the Lady Dragons with six service points on the night with four aces, three kills on four attack attempts and two digs. Myers, meanwhile, finished the match with four service points with one ace and three assists. Kaelyn Crews had one service point, two blocks and one kill on five attack attempts. Vaca led the team with four assists while Maddie Brandes added two kills on two attack attempts and two digs, Alyssa Welch with four attack attempts and one dig, Kelcy Mullett with one kill on three attack attempts and Alexia Hein with two digs and two attack attempts.