CROSS PLAINS The East Robertson volleyball team didn’t start off the year looking like a team that was going to win District 10-A.
The Lady Indians were uncharacteristically making mistakes and unforced errors, so East Robertson coach Clifton Horn decided some changes had to be made.
“In my nine years of coaching I’ve never made as many changes as I’ve made this season,” Horn said. “It took about half the season to get our lineup where it needed to be, but once we did the mistakes went down and we started winning.”
His evaluation worked because the Lady Indians didn’t just win the regular season, they also locked up the district tournament after beating Republic in the first round, Jo Byrns in four sets in the second round and then Nashville Christian in the finals in five sets to claim the championship.
So here’s five things we learned from the District 10-A tournament.
1 – Horn’s changes paid off in a big way. According to Horn, he had to make sweeping changes all over the floor this season. It didn’t matter where anyone had played in the past, they were all reevaluated and put into different positions, but it worked and made the team stronger.
2 – East Robertson never gave up, even with its back against the wall. In the championship game after Nashville Christian had won the second game they were about to take the second game also needed just a single point 24-20, but the Lady Indians came back to win the game 33-31 and that changed the complexion of the match.
3 – The championship game went to a fifth set, but the stage wasn’t too big for East Robertson. According to Horn, the Lady Indians have played several fifth games this year. The last was an intense fifth game against White House Heritage and East Robertson was able to survive that also giving them the confidence to finish off the fifth game in the championship.
4 – Seniors Monica Gardner and Tori Long were keys to this year’s success. Horn said that Gardner was moved from outside hitter to middle blocker and her point production picked up almost immediately. Long was the team’s setter, so all the offense ran through her. Her ability to get it to any position was crucial this season.
5 – Since East Robertson won the district tournament they will host the regional tournament Tuesday and take on 9-A runner-up Eagleville. This will be the fifth time the two teams have met in the past five years and coming in the Lady Indians are 0-4 against Eagleville. Horn said this has to change and they weren’t overlooking Eagleville. “We’re going into this game like Eagleville is a state champion,” Horn said. “There’s no way we’re going to overlook them, but we are definitely due.”