“The biggest thing is consistency and confidence,” Burt said. “Right now, they don’t have 100 percent confidence in what they can do. I really don’t think we’ve played up to our potential in any of the sets we’ve played so far this year. I know what the girls are capable of; I think they do too, but they just haven’t found it within themselves to really put it out there. It’s not due to effort. They’re giving the effort. It’s just the confidence level and the consistency that is really hurting us.”
Faulkner jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first game behind the serving of Morgan Wilson.
The Lady Tornadoes cut the lead down to 9-6 following two ace serves by Zia Mose.
With the score at 16-11, Faulkner received a kill from Kelsey Bell that gave the Lady Eagles momentum. Bell had four straight ace serves to end the game with the scoreboard reading 25-16.
In the second game, the Lady Eagles again jumped out to an early lead, but this time TC came right back, tying the game at 8-8. Then, Faulkner built a 15-10 lead and hung on to win 25-16.
In the final set, Faulkner got off to an early 3-0 lead, but again TC came back to tie the game at 6-6. Faulkner got three unanswered points to make it 9-6. They maintained a lead of three points or more until Sarina Thompson went to serve for TC. She had four straight ace serves to bring her team back into the game, from 19-15 to 19-19. With TC trailing 23-22, Autmun Benson earned a kill and got the match point to win, 25-22.
“The effort is there,” Burt said. “I don’t have any issue with their effort. It’s just execution and maybe just sometimes, a little loss of focus. It’s still early in the season; obviously, we’ve played nine matches. We’ve got a long way to go. We’re coming along and we’re going to get there.”
The Lady Tornadoes fell to 0-9 on the season.
Despite the loss, the Tornadoes had several strong individual showings. Zia Mose had eight kills and no errors. Sarina Thompson was second in kills with six, while Tanaira Rounds finished with five kills.
“When everybody can put a run like that together, we’re going to win some volleyball matches,” Burt said. “We just have to get to that point where everybody is going to be on the same page. I really wanted to get this in for our home opener, but it didn’t work out that way. We play again on Thursday against LaGrange, so we’ve got another chance to win in front of the home crowd. Then, we go back on the road again. We’re itching for that first win. The girls are getting antsy, I’m getting antsy. As soon as we get that first one, I think things are going to calm down. I think they’re going to start playing a little bit better volleyball once we get that first win.”
Faulkner head coach Tori Bartels was impressed with TC’s strengths close to the net.
“The Eagles did a fairly decent job controlling the ball tempo,” Bartels said. “There are a few things we need to do error-wise, but I thought Talladega did a great job defending us at the net.”
The Lady Tornadoes had 27 kills total, roughly nine kills for each of the three games. Burt said that number had to be better for the team to be able to win consistently.
“When we execute to our ability, we can terminate the ball,” he said. “When we don’t, we can’t. That’s basically the bottom line is: we have to be able to get on that level to where no matter who is serving back there, we need to be able to side them out and we’re not there yet.”