CORINTH - Lake Dallas had battled back after dropping the first set of its season opener Tuesday against Waxahachie.
In the second set, which was largely a back-and-forth affair, the Lady Falcons pulled ahead 18-15 over the perennially strong Lady Indians, but couldn't close the deal to tie the match at one set apiece as Waxahachie went on to sweep Lake Dallas, 25-20, 26-24, 25-14 on Tuesday in Corinth.
The loss spoiled Heather Van Noy's first match as a head coach after coming to the Lady Falcons from Guyer, where she was an assistant coach.
The play that seemed to break Lake Dallas' back came on the decisive point of the second set, when a Lady Falcons player went for a kill before the officials ruled that Lake Dallas had four hits.
Van Noy protested that her player actually hit the ball before it was blocked back to the Lady Falcons' side of the net but made no headway and the set came to a close. Waxahachie went on to win the third set easily to complete the sweep.
"We just have to get mentally stronger on dealing with those kind of plays," Van Noy said. "It happens, but that wasn't the point that decided that game. We had four missed serves that game, so it wasn't that call that determined the game. But it take something out of us for that third game."
That second set had a lot that Van Noy wants to see down the road from her new team.
There were long rallies with tremendous digs, not to mention the kills and blocks by Whitley Chambers, Callie Head and Sam Llamas.
Chambers and Head tied for the team lead with eight kills and three blocks each. Llamas had four kills and four blocks while setter Olivia Chapman finished the night with 22 assists and libero Maddie Stanfield had numerous digs.
"What's great about this group is that I have a multitude of weapons," Van Noy said.
That showed on Tuesday as Lake Dallas got significant contributions from its big names as well as some solid play from players like middle blocker Bailiey Wilhite, who had a nice stretch of play in the first set to get the Lady Falcons (0-1) back in the set midway through.
Van Noy said many of her players had their moments to shine, but they need to work on eliminating the bad moments.
"I'm disappointed on some things that happened because we've really worked on them, but I thought we played well defensively for most of the night, we just couldn't get the ball down offensively," Van Noy said. "They just kept coming at us and eventually in the third game our defense kind of broke down."
The main problem for Lake Dallas offensively, Van Noy said, was the fact that her team wasn't aggressive enough against a quality opponent.
"We just need to put the ball down more," Van Noy said. "We get timid and we want to start roll-shotting and tipping, and against teams like Waxahachie, with their history, we can't be timid. We've just got to go after it."
Lake Dallas might get another shot at the Lady Indians (1-0) this weekend at the Ryan Kickoff Classic, in which Lake Dallas will play Thursday and Saturday.
There are many other teams from the area playing in the tournament, including Denton ISD teams Denton, Ryan and Guyer. Van Noy said it will be good just to get some more court time with her team after just a week of practice leading up to Tuesday's opener.
"There's good competition there and just constant playing non-stop will be good for us," Van Noy said. "That's what we need. There's only so much you can do in practice. The game atmosphere only comes from playing more. I just think that's what they need.
"Just getting the team chemistry and the timing right will help with that defensive stuff. It's our first week. We've only had a week together."
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .