The 2011 version of Spring Grove High volleyball started just fine.
The Rockets swept Red Lion 25-9, 25-16, 25-16 at Spring Grove to open their season Tuesday. They are coming off an 18-4 season in dual matches.
Despite the turnover from last year's Rocket team, Red Lion coach Scott Musselman was expecting a challenging match.
"Spring Grove had a great year last year," he said. "We thought there would be some (weak) spots, but the spots must've been on the bench because the spots weren't on the court. I was thinking they might be a little smaller than they were, but that wasn't a small team."
Working on serving drills in practice, Rockets coach Dawn Myers said, is responsible for that. Many of her team's points came on serves, which the team practices for 20 minutes a day.
"Everybody's a little different, different serves, different places, all different," Musselman said. "To me, that's really the way to go in high school, give lots of different looks. They did, and we couldn't pass at the beginning and we couldn't pass at the end. If you can't pass, you can't play. That was the story of the night."
Myers is also trying to implement a faster-paced offense after graduating a lot of size. Her team sure scored quickly.
Spring Grove trailed 2-1 early in the first game before scoring 15 of the next 17 points to take a commanding 16-4 lead. Musselman called two timeouts to slow the rush, but the Rockets had already taken off.
Red Lion played the second game closer, but couldn't gain a lead. After trailing 15-9, it scored seven of the next 10 points to draw within two, 18-16.
"We did a few things in the second game and made them play a little bit," Musselman said. "We got some points, but I don't know if we got control of anything. We hung around.
"When you have two teams playing and you try to play hard, you're going to make some mistakes. If you can't play consistently, then that's what happens.
Spring Grove scored the next seven points to win the second game, 25-16. By the time Red Lion scored its first seven points of the third game, the Rockets already had 17 points on their way to another 25-16 win to finish the match.
"Not a bad way to get our feet wet," Myers said.
Rocket senior setter Brandi Kinard finished with five aces and 31 assists. Teammate and classmate Dakota Godfrey had six kills, three blocks and five aces. Sarah Smith and Kayla Yingling, both seniors, combined for 19 digs.
"Kayla and Sarah, they're a 1-2 punch on defense," Myers said. "This group of seniors, I want good things for them because they just want to play. They love being in the gym and touching a volleyball. The good thing about this team is they're a true team effort. That's what I love about this group."
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