Tuesday’s league opening victory over Virgin Valley is the key reason why Boulder City High School’s girls volleyball coach Cherise Hinman scheduled a preseason gauntlet full of 4A programs. She wanted her girls to be battled tested when it counted most.
“Coming into the year we knew it was going to be a challenge getting such an inexperienced roster ready,” Hinman said. “Each year we’re accustomed to having a stacked roster, an experienced one. Our record may not look pretty today following our preseason schedule, but we’re hoping to improve it during league play.”
Coming off a solid performance in their home Boulder City Invitational on Friday and Saturday, where Boulder City faced multiple 4A programs, the Lady Eagles looked eager to get back to playing 3A opponents on Tuesday, dominating the Bulldogs in three sets, 25-15, 25-21 and 25-18.
Stealing the show on the road in Mesquite, junior captain Maggie Roe was an offensive machine against Virgin Valley, garnering 19 kills and 15 digs, along with a pair of aces and blocks.
Coming in with a solid performance of her own, senior captain Alea Lehr was the main catalyst for the Lady Eagles’ offensive production, dishing out 41 assists and 10 digs, while senior Kenadee Bailey added another strong performance with 16 digs and six kills to give the team a feared trio.
“I’ve been trying to step it up lately,” Bailey said. “I’ve been working really hard during practice to be able to contribute come game time. I’ve really become a student of the game as of late and it’s paid off.”
The Lady Eagles stand with a 10-11 record for the season, including a 6-2 record in their invitational, where they swept Lake Mead (twice), Clark and Pahrump Valley, along with a pair of 4A programs in Spring Valley and Cimarron-Memorial 2-0. The Lady Eagles’ only two losses came by one set each to 4A programs Liberty and Las Vegas.
“I thought the girls did a solid job in the invitational,” Hinman said. “Obviously, we would have liked to have won the whole thing on our home court, but I really tried to challenge us this weekend. I really wanted to give the girls a last taste of quality opponents before we got into league play. We could face 3A and 2A programs all day and have a really nice record, but those wins wouldn’t do anything for us. We learn from our losses.”
Excited to get their preseason schedule over with, senior Cortney Blumenthal said she was optimistic about the team’s chances of being successful during league play.
“We know we have the girls here on our team to compete within our league every night,” Blumenthal said. “We’ve had our ups and down, we taken a few bad losses, but we’ve learned from them each day and continue to get better. I’m confident in our team’s ability to be successful.”
Part of her confidence comes from the Lady Eagles’ new starting rotation that played together during the Boulder City Invitational, their fifth lineup change so far this season.
“It’s been a challenge for us to get the right core together in the starting lineup this season,” Hinman said. “We’ve changed it countless times, but after the way the girls played in the invitational, I feel like we’re on to something.”
Key performances in the invitational come from Lehr, who had a highlight performance against Lake Mead in their first meeting with 18 assists, eight aces and five digs, and Roe, who had 13 digs, 11 kills and five aces against Spring Valley. Senior Lexi Bringle also had a key performance against Clark with eight digs, while Bailey recorded five blocks during the tournament.
The Lady Eagles travel to Southeast Career Technical Academy today, before hosting Del Sol on Monday and rival Moapa Valley on Wednesday.
“We expect to be in a very tight race again this year with Virgin Valley and Moapa Valley,” Hinman said. “We need to capitalize early and build some momentum in league play. It’s going to be another year where we have to grind it out.”
Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.
■ Today, at Tech, 5 p.m. junior varsity; 6 p.m. varsity
■ Monday, vs. Del Sol, 5 p.m. junior varsity; 6 p.m. varsity