As Clearwater volleyball coach Ernie Beachey approached the start of the 2010 season, the outlook was grim. The Indians needed to replace two outside hitters, two middles, a right-side hitter and setter. Only two seniors returned.
"We knew we had our hands full at the start," Beachey said.
Clearwater lost its first four matches and 5 of 7.
But last week, Clearwater went 3-0 in a quadrangular at Winfield and got quality wins over Andale and Maize South.
"We've really kind of bought into that idea that success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm," Beachey said. "They've lived that out."
Senior Megan Mengelkoch moved from middle to outside and is the Indians' go-to hitter. Sophomore Hanna House is in the middle, as is freshman Bryna Vogel.
"Bryna is more of a natural volleyball athlete," Beachey said. "It's like she already understands how to handle the ball and see the court. (Against Andale and Maize South), she would take a set that was a little bit off and she would rub it across their hands and hit it in the corner. You don't get that instinct often."
Sophomore Madison Rausch took over as the rotation's lone setter. As she has gained experience, her accuracy and ballhandling have improved.
Early in the season, Clearwater's major problem was receiving serve.
"It really failed us early on," Beachey said. "That was a key in a lot of our early season losses. I think our ace passer (senior Hannah Tjaden) has kind of come out of the woodwork. She's just been excellent."
Clearwater plays a quadrangular tonight at Buhler with Augusta and Mulvane.
A bright moment — North has struggled at times this season, but the win over Kapaun Mount Carmel on Thursday was a huge boost.
"I think it was a slump breaker for us," coach Andrea Scheideman said. "We had come out and won our first match, but we've lost since then. I think this motivated the girls."
North had lost to East last Tuesday, so Scheideman revamped her offense on Wednesday.
"I know, it's a miracle," Scheideman said. "I told them, if you can give me 100 percent and you leave everything that's inside of you, then you will be ready for Kapaun."
North's offense had relied on high passes, high sets, which allowed defenses to set up their blocks with ease.
"We picked up the tempo on passes and our setters lowered everything," Scheideman said.
It paid off for hitters such as Chasity Clark, who had 20 kills.
North plays at Heights tonight in a dual.
Tough win _ Collegiate assistant coach Kayla Stout was part of a difficult first-round match at the Marion tournament.
Collegiate played Canton-Galva, which is coached by Stout's mom, Val.
Collegiate won in two. Stout said after the match that it's the toughest she had ever coached.