Mavs off to slow start in volleyball

All weekend,  Dave Fleming heard what a good volleyball team he has.

“The coaches all said, ‘Holy cow, you’re loaded,’ ’’ Fleming said Saturday after the Mavericks lost to No. 11 Washburn (Kan.) University 25-16, 25-22, 25-21 to finish the Colorado School of Mines Oredigger Classic 1-3.

“Of course, they were saying that walking off the floor after beating us. It’s kind of bittersweet.”

Not only did the Mavs lose three of their four matches in the tournament, they lost middle blocker Lindsey Jefferson for at least two weeks because of a high ankle sprain.

Senior outside hitter Ali Tompkins returned to the starting lineup Saturday and had 12 kills, a bright spot for the day. Only Tompkins and setter Tara King had positive hitting averages against the Blues.

“Washburn is good,” Fleming said. “They’re No. 11 in the country; they’re legit. The teams were are all pretty legit; I want to be pretty legit.”

Fleming has high expectations for the Mavericks despite the slow start, but it doesn’t get any easier — they play at Dixie (Utah) State on Wednesday on their way to the UC-San Diego tournament.

“We get the defending national runner-up (Cal State-San Bernardino) first,” Fleming said.

“This is not a tournament where you want to go in injured.”
Courtney Searls, a 5-11 freshman, moved into the rotation for Jefferson.

The Mavericks have been slow to score and then forced to play catch-up, which against those legit teams usually doesn’t work.

“What I told them at the end was we’ve got to play consistently at a high level,” Fleming said. “We don’t sustain it. We got down 8-1 and 5-1 and we were competitive after that, but it just kills you.”


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