Lady Cats lose in 3 sets in home opener


WAELDER — A new era in Lady Wildcat volleyball officially began Monday as Waelder hosted the Smithville Lady Tigers to open their season at home, losing in three sets (25-8, 25-10, 25-15).

With some key seniors graduated, the new coaching staff made some changes around the court, including naming Brejhai Montgomery, the senior captain, as the main setter for the Lady Cats.

“She made some mistakes on the sets, but overall she did a very good job,” first-year head coach Eric Hirtriter said. “It’s just practice, and we’ll be doing a lot more practice.”

The team struggled to return serves in the first set, with the Class 4A Smithville Lady Tigers knocking in four aces. Other than a block by Montgomery, all of Waelder’s eight points in the set came from self-inflicted errors by the visiting team.

Improvement came in the second with the Lady Cats forcing longer rallies by coming away with key digs. Down 14-6, Waelder would score three straight before a Smithville timeout was called. Smithville answered back, finishing the set on an 11-1 run.

The third set was the best one played as the team scored on a few kills and even a tip to keep it close.

“Yeah, I think each game got a little bit better,” Hirtriter said. “The score in the last game was a lot better than the first two. That was good and, once again, against a 4A team. I’m really thrilled.”

Despite the few digs that impressed Hirtriter, the head coach admitted that positioning was a problem for the Lady Cats.

“We just got to make sure we cover the holes so they’re not serving into them and getting free shots on us,” he said. “Court position during the play and during the serves. I think that’s the biggest thing. They just have to over each other’s back better in relationship to the whole court. Then I think we can beat them.”

Waelder will travel to Nordheim for a tournament this weekend before hosting Victoria Home School on Tuesday, Aug. 21, with game time scheduled at 5 p.m.