The St. James volleyball team (2-7, 0-1 FRC) has had a busy week starting with the Cuba Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 9. They then hosted Licking on Monday, Sept. 11, before traveling to Pacific on Tuesday. St. James went 1-3 in the Cuba Tournament before losing to both Licking and Pacific in straight sets.
The Lady Tigers opened the tournament against the host school in bracket play, where they fell to Cuba in straight sets 25-14, 25-15. They then lost to Herky 25-11, 25-16. St. James got their and only win the their final pool play game when they beat Confluence Academy 25-5, 25-6. They then lost their only bracket play game to Potosi 25-17, 25-15.
St. James tried to shake that off against Licking on Monday and got off to a decent start. They took an early lead thanks to some mistakes by Licking, but once the Lady Wildcats settled in, St. James was left on their heels. The Lady Tigers had some issues putting up solid blocks, which led to points by the Licking hitters. After the game was locked at seven, Licking dominated the rest of the way to cruise to a 25-16 win.
The second set started with a series of runs by each team. Licking served first, taking the first five points of the match. St. James responded with five straight points of their own, which included a pair of aces from senior captain Mackenzie Rodgers. St. James made a couple of great plays to keep rallies alive early in the second set, but Licking managed to answer several times. Teams traded points until the match was tied at 11. After that, it was all Licking. They took the next seven points to build a steady lead on their way to a 25-14 win. St. James didn't record a single kill in the second set.
"We're just in a big slump with our serve receive," said head coach Julie Guese after the game against Licking. "Obviously if you can't pass on a serve, you're not going to get anything out of it. We're just really having a hard time there. It started out pretty decent, after that they just kind of fell to the wayside."
St. James is still a very young team that is trying to find their footing at the varsity level. At this point, they just need keep playing to work on things and to improve on their communication.
"We're young, we're inexperienced, they're still trying to get to know things. We have three freshmen, some of them are still trying to get to know their positions better, so they'll keep making progress, it's just a little slow seeming right now," said Guese. "When we have practice, we've been working on our communication, but still, when they're in a slump out there, communication just falls down."
St. James went on to face Pacific in their first Four Rivers Conference matchup on Tuesday to similar luck. Pacific took the match in straight sets 25-9, 24-14.
The Lady Tigers will look to get back on track when they host Hermann for another Four Rivers Conference game on Thursday, Sept. 14.