COLLINSVILLE – When Owasso lost its first match in a tournament out in Florida last weekend, Meghann Turner and the Ram volleyball coaches decided some things needed to change.
So they called a meeting with the entire squad.
“We pointed out some things each player could do better,” Turner said. “Since then, they’ve all taken that to heart and made those changes for the betterment of the team.”
The pep talk seems to have worked as Owasso, ranked No. 12 in the latest Class 6A coaches poll, has won seven of its last eight matches since that meeting. The Rams latest conquest came Thursday night in three-game sweep on the road against Collinsville, 25-13, 25-13, 25-10.
One of the topics covered in the Rams team meeting, according to junior setter Mallory Hendrix, was playing with the right mindset.
“A lot of times we just start freaking out and lose it,” said Hendrix, who led Owasso with seven kills and 22 assists against the Cardinals. “If we just have fun and relax, we’ll be on the top of our game.”
Early in the first set, it looked like the Rams (11-4) would be in for all they could handle as Collinsville used an 8-3 run to take a 13-11 lead after a kill from Jacy Rule.
Turner called a timeout.
“They had to be reminded, if they will just play with some enthusiasm and fire, their play will automatically rise,” she said.
Owasso’s intensity level began to increase when it sided out and continued to build as senior outside hitter Kylie Patton proceeded to serve the next 13 straight points. Journey Staggs, Taylor Hendricks and Raegan Daigle each had key swings during the run as the Rams steamrolled to an easy game one win and quickly snatched the momentum.
“At the beginning of the first set, it was a rough time,” Hendrix said. “But we got it back and started having fun.”
On the flip side, the first game was another tough lesson for a young Collinsville squad, which is breaking in several first-year varsity players.
“With youth, you have to take your lumps,” said Cardinals coach Niki Baughman, whose team fell to 4-6 overall on the season. “With experience, that will come. They’ll get to the point where they won’t want that to happen and say ‘that’s enough.’”
Owasso used an 8-0 run to take a 11-3 lead in the second game and a closed the match on a 16-3 flurry to complete the sweep.
Patton finished with eight digs and seven kills to go with her superlative serving performance. Hendricks tallied seven kills while Staggs totaled six kills and three blocks. Jenna Holderman had nine digs and three aces. Addy Berry chipped in with 11 assists and four digs.
The Rams continue a busy stretch on Friday in the Bishop Kelley Tournament. Owasso opens pool play with Broken Arrow at 10 a.m., followed by Ponca City and Fayetteville, Arkansas later in the day before bracket play on Saturday.
Turner said the hectic pace of the schedule is simply the nature of the sport.
“That’s just how volleyball is,” Turner said. “It’s just go, go, go. It’s such a grind. You don’t even know what day it is. The season goes by in such a short period of time.”
Owasso 3, Bartlesville 0 – The Rams steamrolled past the host Bruins in three games, 25-13, 25-10, 25-14, on Tuesday night. Hendrix led Owasso with seven aces, six kills and 11 assists in the victory. Madi Mercer and Patton each had four kills to help the attack. Holderman finished with 12 digs while Gabby Guerrero added five digs.