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Lady Cardinals look good in scrimmage

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT – Plans changed after careful thought by Lamar volleyball head coach Alan Edwards,but still the Cardinals looked sharp in the their final scrimmage of the preseason.
He elected to give Lamar a vote on whether or not to play the alumni as a team or save themselves for the squad scrimmages ensuing in the day; the Cardinals chose to play.
“I would like to pretend that it was all some sort of master plan on my part, but part of the reason for not having the scrimmage against the alumni because it was an unknown commodity. I hadn’t met most of those athletes,” said Edwards. “I got to meet them and realized we struggled last year when an unfamiliar team would come into the gym and we’d completely change our mindset.
“After further thought, I looked at it as a chance to work on that during the preseason,” he said. “I talked to our kids and we worked through a plan to keep people from getting hurt.”
The new decision was to play the alumni in two games to 25 and turn around and play a best-of-five squad scrimmage. The alumni played the current team tough in the first set to a 25-20 loss, in large part to a couple of runs, but the 2015 group put the alumni away early in the second with a final of 25-10.
“We played a lot of young kids in the first and used that as an opportunity to give some of the kids who are injured or have some nagging pains a break,” said Edwards. “In the second game we went with Cortney (Moore), Chelsea (Grant), Autumn (Taylor) and Amy (Hollowell) and we get out of the gate early.”
The second game saw the alumni grab the first pint, but that was the only time it led. LU captured a 6-3 lead and turned that into a 13-3 advantage. The Cardinals never let the alumni put a run of any kind together.
“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, if you can go on long runs and sustain a high level it is a good sign,” said Edwards. “The ability to maintain a high level of play after you’ve built a nine-point lead is tough, and they were able to do that.
After the alumni sets were over, the team broke out into a Red-White scrimmage that saw the White team dominate in three sets, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21. After the three sets were completed, the group elected to play one more to 15, and the Red team took that 15-6.
The first set was an eventful game. The Red team jumped out to a 9-1 lead after White claimed the first point of the set. From there, White battled all the way back to tie it at 9-9 just to see Red hold a five-point advantage in a 20-15 contest. White held Red to 20 points until it hit 19, and finished the set out with a six-point run to claim the victory.
“We’re pretty good in transition. We’re doing a lot better job this season of digging a ball out and getting a swing instead of sending a free ball back over,” said Edwards. “If you’re able to go out and serve the ball tough, not take service errors, force your opponent out of system and dig a ball with a swing, you’re in good position.
“The kids we have are doing that pretty well,” said Edwards. “It was good to see both teams go on long runs. It’s tough to put up a seven or eight point run, it doesn’t happen much.”
A nine-point run in the second set gave the White a 13-7 advantage after being down 7-4 to Red. Once the White took over, the Red never saw the lead again. The third set was a hotly contested set. Neither team had a run more than three until the White team put five-point run together to win the match.
“Middles played well all through the day. I thought the level of play fluctuated, especially on one side of net. It’s the last day of preseason camp, and we’ve had six really good practices in a row,” said Edwards. “That is the first time we’ve done that in the year and a half that I’ve been here.”
The contest was the last the team will have before it opens the season at McDonald Gym on Friday morning at 10. The Cardinals will host Texas Southern, Alabama-Birmingham and Marist in the Lamar Invitational.