CEDAR CITY – Call it a case of opening-night nerves, call it simple stage fright, but the Cedar Lady Reds were in a bit of a bind in the early moments of its 2014 season opener.
After head coach Oscar Fakahua called a timeout, his team settled in and set up a solid performance on the way to victory.
Led by the hitting of Ashley VanFleet, Cedar asserted itself and swept past Beaver in three sets, 25-17, 25-15, 25-14 before a happy crowd in the CHS gym.
Cedar fell behind 8-4 in the opening set of the match, but Fakahua imparted a very simple message to his team in that initial timeout.
“Once everybody caught on and said ‘relax, let’s play the game,’ everything turned out OK,” Fakahua said. “The greatest thing about this team is there are some superstars, but they don’t act like it in practice.”
When play resumed, the Lady Reds took Fakahua’s message to heart as their play took off. They put together a 17-4 tear that turned things around in the opening set, and senior Javlyn Weaver, in her first season with the volleyball team, put it away with a clean kill down the center of the Beaver defense.
“We were all a little nervous at first, but the timeout helped pick up our energy level,” Weaver said. “We still worked good together, and we’ve improved a lot.
“There are so many athletic people on this team, we can do good stuff this year.”
VanFleet made some of the bigger impressions that got her fellow students cheering often, delivering several kills that left the Beaver defense standing still as the ball zipped past and fell safely onto the court.
“It’s so much more fun this year,” VanFleet said. “When we have fun, we do good. … This year’s going to be awesome.”
Cedar led from the start in taking the second set, but had to overcome a handful of ties early in the third before pulling away and finishing off the sweep.
“Everyone worked together well. That’s giving us hope (for the season),” Fakahua said.
Parowan at Piute
The Lady Rams traveled to Junction to play the 1A Thunderbirds in their season opener Wednesday night. No score or game details were reported.
Follow Tom Zulewski on Twitter, @Tomzsports.