VERNON, Texas- After three consecutive losses to start the 2019 season, first-year head coach Zac Rambo was hoping to see his team rid themselves of their own expectations. He knew they were capable of playing with more freedom, and more fun. On Saturday morning, his faith was rewarded.
The Beavers swept Coastal Bend College in straight sets, 25-23, 25-20, and 27-25. The win marks Rambo's first as a head coach, but he wasn't worried about his personal benchmark. His satisfaction was knowing his players had gotten "the monkey off their backs."
"I'm just happy the girls got a win," Rambo said. "The girls played great. They responded so well from yesterday to today, so I'm happy the freshmen got a chance to get their first collegiate win."
Redshirt sophomore Jordan Jones led the Beavers with eight kills, and a hit rate of .389, while Mariah Hillman converted 50% of her own attempts into points. Seasoned sophomore Olivia Hessman led the Beavers with 29 assists to go with her 10 digs, as Haylee Parker added 16 more digs to her early-season total.
"We had a lot of girls step up," Rambo said.
Since the start of the regular season on Thursday, Rambo reiterated that his team wasn't playing to it's full capabilities, likely due to a young roster adjusting to the speed of the junior college level, and the expected nerves of a new spotlight. However, Rambo too is still adjusting to how this particular group of players must be handled.
"It helped that we were leading most of the time," he said. "I also figured out I have to talk to them a little bit earlier, instead of letting things ride. It's just still trying to figure out your team early in the season, how they respond, and doing what you need to do in order to help them out. They did a great job of staying loose and I'd like to think I did a good job from helping them out when they were starting to get a little tight.
"I talked to them a little bit earlier today than I did yesterday, and they definitely responded much quicker after that."
The Beavers are scheduled to play in their final game at the Vernon College Classic later today at 3 pm CT, with today's doubleheader concluding with a matchup against Eastfield College.