EL DORADO — New Oak Ridge High boys volleyball coach Melanie De Mure and Union Mine High coach Mike Yates were pleased with their respective team’s performances Wednesday in an intra-county nonleague match at the Snake Pit.
Oak Ridge won in four sets, 25-22, 20-25, 25-21, 25-22 in a battle for every point.
“One of the reasons I wanted to schedule this team is because it’s a rival school,” Yates said. “They are 3-to-4 times our school size, have a lot of club players and a lot of solid players. I wanted to test us to show them this is what (level) they need to get to. With a game like this, this team will show you your mistakes; coming off the net off the block. They showed us that today by getting four or five balls through there.
“Now we know when we go back to practice what to work on so we can compete with a team like this. Every game was two, three points (in leading). This was as good as we could have hoped for,” Yates added.
For De Mure, the first match of the season meant grading the team’s strengths and areas to improve.
“Work out some of the bugs, see what we needed to work on,” De Mure said. “If they can take any type of rhythm that we can get and bring it over into our next match (Thursday at Vista del Lago).”
One part of the game De Mure was happy was serving for most of the match. She feels serving will only get better as the season progresses.
“I think it’s two-fold,” she said. “It was a positive and it was a negative; we missed too many serves. It’s got to get into some rhythm.”
Play at the net was strong for the Trojans; they had a combined 27 kills between Storm Van Soldt and Trent Stigerts.
“We did OK for our first game,” De Mure said. “But we need to work on some of those setter connections; better communication, creating a little distance.”
Oak Ridge led throughout the first game, but Union Mine tied the set at 19-19 on a kill. But Troy picked up the pace with their serving to win the first game.
In the second contest, a mixture of ace points from Lucas Smith and kills from Mitchell Vonasek led to the D’backs jumping out to an 8-5 lead. Three times in game 2 Oak Ridge rallied to pull within three, but Union Mine finished off the set with side outs to win its only set of the match.
“It worked out exactly how I wanted to,” Yates said. “We got the win, got some confidence. This is what we need to get to, but it showed us the mistakes.”
The third and fourth sets belonged to the Trojans who led in both sets. Union Mine kept close as it spiked its way to within three points in each set.
Sam Greenleaf had 42 assists for Troy and Michael Montejano registered four aces in the match.
Yates feels certain he has the players to compete this season: some club players and a mixture of basketball and soccer players round out his 14-player roster.
“I think I’ve got the athletes to compete if we can get them to learn the game better,” Yates said.