CHICKASHA – Nancy Waters’ Chickasha volleyball team came out for their season and home opener with Fletcher fired up and ready to play Thursday.

“We were as excited as we’ve ever been,” senior libero Taycee Seibold said after the match.

“We played with a whole lot of enthusiasm,” senior hitter Will’Eisha Irby agreed.

They did – maybe with too much. The team passed well and was swinging lights out but had way too many hits go wide or long, costing them a four-game loss to the visitors, 19-25, 14-25, 25-18 and 14-25.

“That one stung,” Waters said afterwards. “That’s a win we should have had. It was a disappointing loss.”

The Chicks had 29 hitting errors and 25 ball-handling errors, which, as the coach pointed out, amounts to over two games’ worth of points.

Not to take anything away from Fletcher. Payton Anthony and Heather Bernstein played very well at the net and Dreama Black had a solid night serving for first-year coach Justin Miller’s team, but the Chicks simply gave away too many points.

The Wildcats made a living off of tips at the net and the free-swinging Chicks just didn’t place their kills well.

“We’ve got to hit better,” Irby, who only had seven kills for the night, said. “We lost our focus too many times.”

Fletcher pulled away steadily to take the first two games but Chickasha roared back with a vengeance in game three, winning 25-18 and looking like they’d finally turned things around. But they came out sloppy again in game four and quickly found themselves down 7-2. They never recovered.

Seibold, the back line team leader, said, “Our hitting needs to improve. We started off that fourth game in a big hole not hitting well.”

Junior setter Hailey Angel had her usual solid outing with 20 assists and junior Kali Gann had a big night serving with 11 aces but Gann only mustered four kills. Irby and junior Dawn’Shaye Blakes had seven each up front and the team totaled just 26, not enough for a four-game set.

With expectations so high this year, little things are going to be magnified.

“The things we didn’t do well are very fixable and we’ll get on those in practice,” Waters said.

“Our serving was great. We passed well and our serve return, which concerned me going in, was very good. A lot of good things happened but one bad thing overshadowed them – we lost the match.”

Perennial powerhouse Clinton comes into Chickasha Tuesday for what will now be an early gut check for her Lady Chicks.

“I told the girls that the season doesn’t end on August 12. We should have had this one but we didn’t get it. It’s a long season and now we’re going to have to come out very strong Tuesday for Clinton. That’s going to be a tough match.”

Tuesday will see everyone in action, with the junior high starting things off at 4:30.

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