By MIKE IBANEZ
It may have only been the second day of the new school year, but Lewisville High School volleyball coach Libby Rodriguez delivered a progress report to her team in the form of a longer-than-usual postgame meeting following the Farmers’ loss to Frisco Liberty on Tuesday.
LHS was swept at home by Liberty 25-16, 25-21, 25-22 — the seventh sweep in a season where Rodriguez’s primary challenge is to fuse a mix of veterans with newcomers entrusted to important positions.
The school year is young, but the volleyball season is 14 matches in, and nearing district play.
“The urgency is kicking in for me and I’m wanting it to kick in for my players,” Rodriguez said after addressing her team. “We had the kind of leadership last year where that urgency was there from the start, but we’re still learning how to get that out of our upperclassmen and experienced players.”
Rodriguez singled out junior setter Ryleigh Taylor as one of those potential leaders. Taylor, who nearly earned district Newcomer of the Year honors last season despite playing in the shadow of four-year letter-winner Micah Dinwiddie, had 22 assists in the loss to Liberty.
“There’s no reason why Ryleigh shouldn’t take control of every match we play,” Rodriguez said. “She’s extremely good and makes great decisions. She has to take the wheel instead of sitting in the passenger seat. She’s definitely capable, and we’re working toward getting her there.”
Meredith Wagley and Emerson Coburn were the primary recipients of Taylor’s deft setting. Wagley, a junior, registered a team-high eight kills while sophomore Coburn added seven. Seniors Sui Caan and Marie Hartsburg manned the backline with 15 and 10 digs, respectively.
Freshman Jenna Wenaas led Liberty with 15 kills, including the last two to put the match away.
LHS opened the season at 2-1 with wins over The Colony and Frisco Heritage, but went on to struggle in tournaments hosted by Denton Ryan and Allen. They took an 11-match losing streak into Friday’s matches against Allen and Bishop Lynch.
Despite the lack of early success, Rodriguez is remaining positive.
“We’re struggling with being young and inexperienced in the spots where we are,” she said. “We’re working through it. It’s just taking a little longer than I’d like.”