Still in the feeling-out process, it was hard for first-year head coach Giulanna Cunningham to understand what happened to her Augusta Christian volleyball team.
The Lady Lions hung tough with the Cardinal Newman Lady Cardinals for a game Tuesday night in a South Carolina Independent School Association Region 1-AAA tilt, but were eventually swept 3-0 in the best-of-five match.
“The first game they did pretty good,” said Cunningham. “We were just right there with them. The second game they just stopped talking, they stopped moving, stopped communicating, and the third game was the same way.”
The Lady Lions dropped to 2-2 on the year, while the Lady Cardinals improved to 9-2.
In game one, junior Carsen Palacz’s block helped the Lady Lions jump out to a 3-1 lead and they were tied at 10 when the Cardinals used a 6-0 run to gain separation. With no kills to that juncture, the Cardinals’ Savanna Haynes got two and Peyton McDonald one to spark the run.
Five points is as close as the Lady Lions would come after that, falling 25-17.
The Lady Lions struggled early with serve receiving in game two and quickly fell behind 7-1, prompting Cunningham to call timeout. That led to an Allison Byler kill, but the Lady Cardinals used a 10-3 run to all but put the game away, winning 25-7.
The Lady Lions kept it close in the early stages of game three, trailing 9-5, but the Lady Cardinals went on a 9-2 run to pull away and win 25-14.
Cunningham knows the team is a work in progress. Only one senior is on the roster and eighth- and ninth-graders getting substantial playing time.
“We’re not just working for right now, we’re working for the future,” Cunningham said.