The Dodge City Red Demons volleyball team rebounded from a 1-2 quad earlier in the week to 2-1 Thursday night at the Dodge City High School Field House.
The Red Demons lost the middle match to Hays in straight sets, falling 25-20 and 25-16 to Hays, but opened the quad 25-17, 25-16 and finished the day beating Sublette in straight sets 25-15, 25-18.
Even the loss to Hays between the two victories was hard-fought, head coach Amanda Fleener said afterward.
“Hays is pretty good,” Fleener said. “I thought we played well. I thought maybe we played better in that first game against Hays than we even did beating Lakin.”
Considering the competition, Fleener said it was a satisfying set of results.
“(In) all three matches today I thought we played well,” Fleener said. “And so I’ll 2-1 and be happy.”
It was a total flip of Tuesday’s 1-2 evening in the team’s first quad of the season. Fleener said she gave out two challenges after Tuesday, one to the team and one to herself. To the team, she gave the challenge to just relax and play. To herself, Fleener gave the challenge to not be so “instructional” so often and to instead cheer the team on more.
“This team responds better to cheering than they do to feedback,” Fleener said. “I did that tonight on the sideline and it seemed to help their energy.”
That didn’t mean she didn’t give the players any instruction between the two days though.
“They want to win,” Fleener said. “They had a good practice yesterday, we addressed some of the technical things and I just challenged them to relax and play, and they responded. They responded well.”
One of the biggest differences from Tuesday’s matches was the communication on the team during matches.
“I thought it was phenomenal, I thought night-and-day from Tuesday,” Fleener said. “We had a few players communicating well Tuesday, but tonight we were all talking.”
The team was also more confident Thursday night, a trend which will help the team immediately if it continues, Fleener said.
“I thought our confidence level tonight from my senior to my freshman was way better than it was Tuesday,” Fleener said.
Dodge City closes out a stretch of three straight events at home when they host Liberal next Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Dodge City High School Field House.
“We saw them at Hutch(inson) in the preseason,” Fleener said. “They’re young, like we are. They don’t have much size, but they’re scrappy.”