The Fair Grove volleyball team finally got its chance to play a game in its newly renovated gym on Thursday night after waiting through delays and persevering through less than ideal practice conditions for the first month of the season.
“We have been down in our old gym and had 26 girls on one net. It has been interesting because it has not been easy at all,” Fair Grove head coach Tonya Peck said. “We have gotten very creative in some of our drills and some of our practices.”
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE MATCH
Monday was the first day the Eagles had a chance to get on the court, and Thursday’s win over Rogersville was the first game played in the renovated facility.
“The girls were pretty stoked to be out here tonight. (There was) a little bit of the excitement and nervousness. All these people are here and a brand new facility,” Peck said.
That nervousness and excitement showed in the first set as Rogersville rolled to a 25-15 win. The game was tied at 7-7 early, but the Wildcats went on a 14-4 run to essentially put the game out of reach.
Peck had a simple message for her girls after the opening set loss.
“We talked about it and they know when we play competition like Rogersville we can’t slack off. Even if we have a bad game we have to continue,” Peck said. “They realized the first game can’t happen again and stepped it up the second and third game.”
Fair Grove was undaunted by its first set loss of the season and a 1-0 hole to the Class 3 Wildcats. The two teams played close in the second set and were tied at 10, but the Eagles went on a 10-3 run from that point on the way to a 25-19 win to equalize the match at two sets each.
Peck knew her girls were ready to go in the deciding third set coming off the floor from the win.
“I feel like the second game we ended with a lot of fire and I knew we were going to carry it over to the third game,” Peck said. “Part of it is that my girls this year are extremely smart. That is our goal is to try and outsmart our opponents. Not so much with the finesse of the game but to try and get in their heads and outsmart them.”
The final set was tight, but Fair Grove held off several Rogersville runs to clinch the match with a 25-19 win in the third game.
Fair Grove was able to execute and adjust well throughout the match, and that was the difference.
“We settled and made too many mistakes. Credit to them (Fair Grove), they blocked extremely well,” Rogersville head coach Tammy Miller said. “We talked about making adjustments and we made no adjustments. They (Fair Grove) played well.”
This was the first win for Fair Grove over Rogersville in 12 years, and the Lady Wildcats learned a lesson from the loss to the Class 2 Eagles.
“You better respect all opponents and play hard at all times,” Miller said. “Even if you win the first game big you still have to stay focused on that second game.”
Fair Grove improves to 3-0 on the season and will next play on Saturday in the Branson Tournament. Rogersville falls to 2-2 and will head out to West Plains for a tournament this Saturday.