LAUREL HILL — The best thing about freshmen and juniors is they become sophomores and seniors.
A Laurel Hill School volleyball team comprised of only freshmen and juniors will have to wait another year before they’ll have those sophomores and seniors. In the mean time Coach Kent Zessin will do his best to coach up his young squad in hopes of making a run in next month’s District 1-1A tournament.
The inexperience of the Hoboes showed Tuesday night in a district showdown with Central. Laurel Hill dropped the first two sets to the Jaguars before rallying in the third set.
When the final points were scored Central took the match 3-1 by scores of 25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22.
“We have three freshmen and six juniors and no seniors,” Zessin said. “There is a big difference between that junior year and senior year as far as game competition and seeing different things and reading different things until it becomes natural.
“That usually happens their senior year. Your older kids are usually a little better.”
Older players also are able to play with more consistency. The lack of consistency was a big part of the problem for Laurel Hill (3-5, 0-3) on Tuesday.
“Every time we would get a run we could never completely finish it out,” Zessin said. We would play parts and pieces of a game at times, but we could never put a complete run or game together.
“Hats off to Central. They played a good game. They kept us off balance by putting the ball over (the net) on the first and second hits and doing stuff we are not used to.”
The first set played out in would become the theme of the match. The Jaguars took a lead of four or five points only to see the Hoboes come charging back to tie or briefly take the lead.
A Kaylyn McLaney kill for Laurel Hill tied the first set at 14-14 before the Jaguars closed out the set with an 11-4 run.
The Hoboes got off to a fast start in the second set and led 6-2 after a Micah McVay ace. Laurel Hill’s biggest lead of the set came at 17-11 after a block by Kylee Seymour and a kill by Kaylee L’Homme.
Central came back and took a 20-19 lead before holding off a late charge by the Hoboes to go up 2-0 in the match.
The Hoboes showed their metal in the third set as they refused to go down quietly before the home crowd. Laurel Hill took the set to give the home fans some hope.
Laurel Hill led 6-4 early in the fourth set, but was unable to finish off the Jaguars.
“We have to do a better job of all three phases of the game and that’s pass, set and hit,” Zessin said. “We weren’t consistent enough for us to win tonight.
“The main thing is going out and doing repetitions over and over and over and stress perfection in the repetition itself. At the same time you can allow players to see that they can have success in a match and they can do it against a good team. That’s part of the growing of a young team with no seniors.”