After her team took the court Tuesday and dropped seven of the first eight points in a nondistrict match against the Decatur Lady Eagles, Ryan coach Cindy Williams called a timeout.
Williams knew that her team is going to face a slew of talented teams when District 5-5A play starts Sept. 27.
So when her team stumbled out of the gate, Williams asked for a timeout to relay why Tuesday night’s match was important to the Lady Raiders.
“This is preseason for district, and if we’re not getting it done now, then we’ve got a lot of work to do in the next week or so to fix that,” Williams said she told her team.
Ryan showed brief bright spots but fell to Decatur 25-16, 25-20, 25-17 at Billy Ryan Gym. Decatur entered the matchup ranked seventh in Class 3A by the Texas Girls Coaches Association.
Sydney Lundgren and Susanna Strange each had five kills in the loss for Ryan. Shanna Daniels added nine assists and Arissa Chappell notched 12 digs.
Cooper Martin led Decatur with 13 kills, while Makayla Mayfield added 11 kills in the win for one of 3A’s top teams.
The Lady Eagles (24-6) were coming off a five-set victory over Fort Worth All Saints’ Episcopal and were not the first highly ranked team Ryan (7-21) has faced this season. Ryan also fell to Class 3A’s fifth-ranked Argyle in three sets.
Ryan fell behind early, and unforced errors and poor hitting plagued the Lady Raiders throughout the match. Decatur was able to move the ball effectively and found the holes in Ryan’s defense often.
“We utilized all of our attackers and kept their defense guessing as to where the ball was going to come from,” Decatur coach Claire Benedict said. “Usually when you run a fast offense and you move the ball around that well, their defense is always on their heels and not expecting it. I feel like that was the game changer.”
Williams said she’s been looking for continuity throughout the season and has used several lineups to find it. On Tuesday, she said communication and execution were still lacking against the Lady Eagles.
“I’m trying to find that right group that clicks,” Williams said. “We had little pieces that showed we had some fight, but at some point I’m waiting on somebody to step up. Right now, they’re not.”
Williams has stressed the need for leadership throughout the season, and with a district-opening match coming next week against Flower Mound Marcus, Williams knows her undersized team is capable of producing better results.
“We’re not the tallest group, but I feel like we have a lot of heart,” Williams said. “Things are just not going our way right now. It concerns me because I know we’re better than what we’re playing.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.