The Marion Bulldogs volleyball team may have turned a corner last weekend.
The girls went 4-2 at the Randolph Tournament last Friday and Saturday, advancing to the championship game, and beating a couple of district foes, SA Randolph and SA Cole, along the way.
“Of course it makes me feel good,” Marion head coach Taylor Creamer said of the two wins over the district rivals. “But I definitely saw good things from both of those teams.
“It’s a consideration when we get there in a few weeks and get ready to play them, but it’s a good thing when you beat somebody in your district before the district season starts.”
The Bulldogs went 2-1 on Friday in pool play, forging a three-way tie with Cole and Pleasanton, but won the pool on point differential.
Marion beat district competitor Cole (2-0) and the Young Women’s Leadership Academy (2-0) on Friday, but fell in a tough three-set loss to Pleasanton in an extremely tight match, 20-25, 25-18 and 23-25.
“We had already beat them at the Devine tournament in another very close match,” Creamer said. “We knew we had to bring our game.
“A few small errors here and there really hurt us, but it was a good experience for us to play in a tight game. Those are the kind of games you want to be in right now, before we get to district.”
In that match, Lizzie Abrameit led the way with 12 kills while Madyson Schulze had nine.
Hayley Mabee and Ingrid Nava had 17 digs each, with Abrameit, Schulze and Toryn Autry contributing seven apiece. Madison Doss had 27 assists and three aces in the loss.
Winning the pool advanced the Bulldogs to Saturday’s quarterfinal match, a 25-10, 25-9 win over Providence.
In the semifinal match against district foe Randolph, the Bulldogs again faced a very tough match, but this time came out on top, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23.
“We took the first set, which is always a relief,” Creamer said. “I thought we looked a lot better, but there again were the small errors that cost us the second set.
“In the third set, we were down 16-22, but rallied from all the way back to win. Ingrid Nava really stepped up with her serving and served us to that push, which was huge in that third set.”
Schulze and Abrameit contributed with eight and six kills, respectively, while Mabee and Lily Bek had nine digs each. Doss chipped in with nine aces and 16 assists.
“Beating a team that was in our district, and that we have a little bit of a rivalry with, was a big game — it was very exciting,” Creamer said.
The Bulldogs advanced to play Legacy in the final, but fell in two straight sets, 19-25, 17-25.
“They are a very strong team,” Creamer said.
Abrameit, Mabee, Doss and Schulze made the All-Tournament team.
“Hayley (Mabee) is really coming along,” Creamer said. “It’s a huge deal to have a freshman on the varsity, and she’s a huge asset to our team. Obviously we couldn’t do anything without our two setters (Abrameit and Doss), they’re in on every other ball, and Madyson (Schulze) is always working to get the job done.”
“All four of them had a really good tournament and were a huge part of getting us to the championship game.”
The Bulldogs are now 9-10 overall, but the coach saw better play from the squad in the tournament.
“I have seen lots of improvement,” Creamer said. “I feel like we are on pace with a few weeks left to go before we start district.”
Creamer will take the next month to get the girls ready for district play, with more time to prepare for the district season than most of the schools in the area.
Seguin starts its district season this weekend.
“The first thing is that we keep the girls healthy,” she said. “We have small goals before every match that we play, so we want to make sure that we are checking off those goals one at a time.
“Having district start late is somewhat of an advantage to us, since we have such a long time to prepare. We’re trying to reach our goals in small chunks, to make sure we are where we need to be at when district rolls around.”
Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com .