Some of that lack of chemistry can be explained away. First-year coach David Horseman took over the team late in the summer and had no volleyball experience outside of playing intramurals in college. "I did know it had to go over in three hits," he said.
Horseman is the fourth coach in four years for the Patriots, and he said his inexperience with the game at the high school level has hurt the players and the team.
"I think a lot of our troubles have been due to my lack of knowledge of the game and my lack of experience motivating teenage girls to play sports," Horseman said. "The girls are awesome. I adore all of them. All of them are very solid on and off the court, which has made my life a lot easier."
The losing hasn't gotten any easier, and Garris said having the number of seniors the Pats do should make a difference.
"We shouldn't be the way we are right now," Garris said. "We should already know and we should let ourselves go like that. We have six seniors. We shouldn't be doing that."
When Horseman took the coaching job, he had help from within the school in athletics director Julie Lair, who coached the team two seasons ago. Horseman also used the expertise of former players Rebecca May and Sara Sergent, who returned to help before school and work called them away again. A three-day clinic before the season helped solidify some rules.
"It's still a learning curve," Horseman said. "I'm still learning a lot."
Boyle gives a few lessons
Boyle (19-9) was able to give a few lessons during its win. Meagan Lankford had six assists and three aces, Bruna Lozano had six assists, Rachel Staub had six kills, Stephanie Slone had four kills and Melissa Shannon had three aces for the Rebels.
"We came out more excited in the second game than we did in the first," Boyle coach Dana Stigall said. "That's been a problem for us, that we come out flat. That was my big speech before the second game. We need to come out excited and play to win and not just play around. We did that."
Playing around was what might have cost Lincoln, according to Horseman. The Patriots had homecoming and the Junior Miss pageant last week, and the coach said those were distractions he could have lived without.
He credited Boyle for the win, saying the Rebels were "a little more ready to play," and credited his girls for hanging around after getting down 12-4 in the second game.
"The girls really tried hard there in the second game and dug in and gave a lot of effort," Horseman said.
"I think we have to concentrate on volleyball. Right now, we've had a lot of outside influences, but we'll be able to dig back in. That's what we talked about after the game was digging in and really getting ready for the tournament. I think we will. I think we'll see how bad we want it by then."
Garris said the biggest change will be when the Patriots stop looking outside and start looking inside. When will things turn around?
"When we decide to have fun," Garris said. "I don't know if we're worried about making mistakes or what, but when we decide to play hard for ourselves and not for anyone else, we'll be fine."