ROSEWOOD - Communication, perfect passing from the back line and serve receiving were the top three goals for the Gators in their season opener against Rosewood. It took three two-and-a-half sets to figure it out but it was too little, too late as the Gators dropped their first match of the season 3-1.
Having the right mentality going into a matchup is something a coach can't teach. A player either has to have it or they don't. For two sets, the Gators struggled to get their bearings as they lost the first two sets being outscored by Rosewood 50-17.
In the third set, things began to click for the Gators.
Emotions became more apparent and "their intensity level and focus really picked up," said coach Josh Singleton. "It was good to see how they didn't quit especially being down a few players. We just need to work on applying that intensity earlier in the matchup so we're not fighting from behind."
Spring Creek was without Alexandra Kimes, Jennifer Avila and Belinda Carson leaving them with only seven players.
The Lady Gators won set three 28-26 setting up a pivotal fourth set for both squads. Spring Creek garnered the momentum as Rosewood now seemed to be the team on the ropes. Singleton told the Tribune via email that the three keys to victory would be communication, backline perfect passing and serve receiving.
Spring Creek cleaned up their communication, but lacked in the other two areas which would ultimately cost them as they lost the fourth set 25-22 to end the match in a 3-1 Rosewood victory.
Even in defeat, Singleton was encouraged by his group's effort saying, "the outlook is very positive. I'm really proud of them for battling, they showed that they will continue to fight. Our girls are already talking about different ways they can self-motivate so we're on point in our next match. I'm pleased at what we showed, especially in the second half of the match."
In game one of the season, Singleton is already finding depth in his team. Freshman Madison Broughton played the role of standout tonight for the Gators as she had four blocks to lead the team.
"She was a huge standout, she really stepped up in our middle-hitter position because our original starter was out today so to have her perform that way in her first high school match is big for us," said Singleton.
Spring Creek will get another crack at their win of the season in a quick turnaround as they travel to play Hobbton tomorrow at 5 p.m.