By Mike Abler
Meridian High School suffered its fourth loss of the volleyball season with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Oakton High School on Sept. 9.
Meridian hasn’t won a game this season, and the Cougars’ ability to win the match in four sets drove that point home. But there were some flashes of promise for the Mustangs. The one set they did win they gave Oakton a good fight. Still, it wasn’t enough and resulted in their second loss in a row.
The Cougars made quick work of Meridian in the first two sets, downing the home team 25-15 and 25-16. Oakton had their way with them early into the contest, but the Mustangs turned it on in the third set.
Meridian scored several straight kills on their way to a 25-18 win, bringing them within one set of tying the visiting Cougars. It appeared that momentum carried into the fourth set when they were challenging Oakton from the jump and had cleaned up some of the mistakes they made in the first few sets.
However, it proved short-lived, as the Cougars were able to regain control of the set and close out the match with a 25-10 victory.
Despite the poor start to the season, head coach Derek Baxter remains optimistic and noted that the atmosphere on the team is positive.
“The scores of each match doesn’t reflect our progress,” Baxter said. “We are doing what we need to win matches more and more each week.”
Baxter also mentioned that there is a lot of encouragement from everyone on the team and everyone’s pushing each other to get better each day.
“It’s a long season, so there’s time for the team to develop. There’s no need to rush it. As long as we make it into District and Regional playoffs, I’ll be happy,” Baxter added.
Baxter also noted that their next opponent has always been exceptional at volleyball, but it’s more important for the team to focus on their strategies. “Being able to adjust strategy as the game progresses.” The Mustangs played Briar Woods High School Tuesday on the road. Results were not available by press time.
Meridian had an outstanding 2020 season, finishing in the Class 3 state semifinals. But that was with a veteran senior class that had been on varsity since many were freshmen and sophomores. This year’s team is still looking to hit that same stride this year.