Serving a problem for Garrard

August 18, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

LANCASTER - Two days into the new season, it's easy for Dennis Custard to see where the trouble starts for the Garrard County volleyball team.

There are so many new players on the floor for the Lions, it stands to reason there are a number of things they need to work on. But everything in this sport starts with the serve, and Custard, the Garrard coach, said that's the first priority for his team's progress.

Poorly placed serves proved costly for Garrard Tuesday night, when Madison Southern erased the Lions' early lead and went on to a 25-21, 25-20 victory. Custard said that has been the case in each of Garrard's two matches and two scrimmages.

"Our serving has killed us all year," he said.

The Garrard coach said his team is simply making things too easy for its opponents.

"We've got to continue working on serves, serves, serves," Custard said. "We don't even get a chance to play. They don't even have to work for a point."


Garrard (0-2) led the opening game 19-14 before Southern (1-0) scored 11 of the last 13 points to take the upper hand in a match between two teams that finished third in their own three-team districts last fall.

The Lions then stayed within a point or two for most of the second game, but they never nosed into the lead. When Southern pulled away from a 17-all tie with three straight points, they were unable to recover.

"We just have to be able to put them away," Custard said. "Once we learn how to get that killer instinct and put them away, we'll start winning.

"That comes from inexperience. We've got five new girls out on the floor."

Meeks is the only returning starter

Jessica Meeks is the only player returning from last year's starting lineup, and Tara Simpson is the only other Garrard girl who saw even a little varsity playing time last year.

It's not an especially young team; there are six seniors on the roster, though all are first-year players. But there are enough young players in the program to prompt the creation of a freshman team, as some other 12th Region programs are doing.

Garrard, which finished 6-20, lost 14 of its last 16 matches and went 1-5 in 43rd District play last season, will measure itself against a district opponent for the first time Thursday when it hosts Mercer County.

Custard said his players appear willing to do what's necessary to improve.

"They're working hard; they've got a good attitude," he said. "And when you've got a good attitude and you're working hard, that's a good sign right there."

Custard said he saw signs of progress in the 24 hours since Garrard's season-opening loss to Wayne County. In that match, the Lions were shut out in the first game and scored only seven points in the second.

"They've just got to be patient and believe in their teammates, and they'll come along," Custard said.

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