Every coach hopes that his or her team will get better with time.
But it’s never a guarantee.
Much to the delight of Lori Ledford, her Reynolds volleyball squad has realized its potential in recent weeks, with the Rockets (12-4, 6-2) winning eight of their last nine matches.
The lone loss came in five games to Mountain Athletic Conference leader Enka.
Not too shabby for a team with just three seniors — outside hitter Anna Fields, setter Leah Hawkins and libero Halee Wright.
“We expect to win, and we have more confidence than ever before,” Hawkins said.
“For the seniors, this is our last year, and we just want to make the best of it.”
Reynolds is on pace to easily better last year’s 14-11 season.
“I knew we could do this at the beginning of the season,” Ledford said.
“It was just a matter of whether we came together. It’s not one thing overall with this team. They’re just not giving up, and they don’t get down on themselves.
“The way they’re approaching the games lately is that we know we can win,” she said.
The Rockets stormed past visiting Asheville in three games (25-12, 25-20 and 25-22) on Thursday for their latest win.
Natalie Montini swatted 17 kills and made five blocks. Wright added 19 digs and Courtney Koehler dished out 13 assists. Wright was the most recent Citizen-Times/Western North Carolina Fall Sports Athlete of the Week.
“It’s my senior year, and I’m trying to give this team everything I’ve got,” Wright said.
“I want to do my best for them. And the young girls are doing just as much to help the team out. I just think we’ve come together.”
For the season, Montini easily leads the way in kills (253), followed by Hawkins (110), Melissa Cavagnini (56), Kendra Rice (53) and Koehler (50).
Koehler (245) and Hawkins (228) each have more than 200 assists.
Wright has produced a team-high 385 digs. Montini (225), Hawkins (161) and Koehler (117) also have more than 100.
“With the unpredictability of the conference, you don’t know who’s going to win any night,” Fields said.
“We know that we can be conference champions and that we can count on each other.”
Reynolds’ next match is today at home versus East Henderson. It coincides with the Rockets’ annual “Volley for the Cure” breast cancer awareness fundraiser.
Admission to today’s junior-varsity and varsity matches — which begin at 5 p.m. — is a donation to the Asheville chapter of The Hope Chest for Women.