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Lady Aztecs outlast Roadrunners
BARSTOW • The non-league games with which a team starts off its season are treated by many coaches as a warm-up for the regular schedule. They’re used as a teaching tool for the team and a way for a coach to see what she’s got.
So far this year it’s been all good news for the Barstow volleyball squad. On Monday, the Lady Aztecs stayed undefeated by beating Rosamond, 3-2, at Barstow High School.
Brooke Verrill has taken over the head coaching duties for the varsity squad this season, though she’s been with the program for several years. These non-league matches have given the new coach a chance to switch it up and try something different things. She has a few heavyweight players returning from last year, but also quite a few new faces, and these matches give her the chance to try different combinations.
“These non-leaguers are giving me the opportunity to try out our younger players,” Verrill said. “We’re still working on team chemistry. And I have seven seniors, so I’m thinking about next year, too.”
The coach basically played her starters in games 1, 3 and 5, which Barstow won. The home team benefitted from some bad hits by the Roadrunners to take the first game, 25-15. There were also aces by Breanna Low and Heather Verrill, and kills from Jean Letuli and Tiare Alefaio.
Though many of the younger players took the court in game two, it was a close one, won by Rosamond, 25-23. Harley Carter had a nice kill and Kamrien Proctor served up an ace, but too many out of bounds hits cost the home team.
The Lady Aztecs began the third game at a slow pace, but picked it up to take the win. After trailing by five points early, more consistent play got Barstow back on track, including Low at the service line, serving up two aces and picking up the game’s last 11 points. Maxine Cooks came up with a big kill, and Verrill pounded down the final kill in a 25-19 win.
Long hits and those that hit the net were costly in game four’s 25-21 loss, but the deciding game belonged to Barstow. There was an ace from Letuli and kills from Chelsea Phillips and Verrill for the commanding, 15-6, win.
Verrill finished with 18 kills, 12 digs and two blocks, while Cooks had 12 kills. Marissa Keeton and Alefaio each had 23 assists.
“I think our coverage was a problem, sometimes we were just watching and not moving to the ball,” said coach Verrill. “We’re working on some things, but that’s what these matches are for. We should be ready for the league games.”
The Lady Aztecs have a few days for that, as they’re off the court for over a week. The next match is next Tuesday, when they’ll host Burroughs for a 5:30 p.m. start.