Just 10 minutes before the second annual Mexico Volleyball Intrasquad Sports Drink Scrimmage at the high school began last Thursday on the Gary Filbert Court and the stands weren't exactly overloaded with fans, but neither the team or head coach Shayla Cox and her staff seemed worried.
With admission being a pack of sports drinks the team can use during road matches, or bottled water that that the girls can utilize during study hall, the friends and family members of the program slowly but surely kept filing in until the match started. And then, once the action got going, the faithful sitll kept piling in until, by the time it was all said and done, it appeared as though the Lady Bulldogs had topped the mark they set just one year earlier.
"Tonight went pretty well. We had to split our kids up right down the middle, so we had some younger ones with some older ones, and they did a really good job of being patient and helping to traing them because without those younger ones we don't have a future program," said Cox. "I was very pleased with that. Our rotations were a little rough to start out with. They get better throught the night. The kids kind of caught on. We just started teaching those a couple days ago to some of the younger ones."
The format for this event featured Cox coaching Team Red and assistant coach Mendie Tutt coaching Team Grey. Results featured Team Red winning sets one and two, 25-12, and, 25-15, before, Team Grey came back to claim the third set, 25-16.
"They're working together and they're doing alright. They're fguring it out," said Cox. "Tonight my main goal was to see how (the older players) would help the younger ones. I saw some really good things from my varsity kids. Tonight was all about could they lead their younger teammates because we don't have 12 varsity players to go to battle for us out there. My main goal was to see which of those upperclassmen stepped up and led the younger ones, encouraged and talked to them."
Prior to this event the photographer came in to shoot team senior photos and that only amounted to two individuals. After only losing one senior to graduation, Adria Costley, last year, that amounts to a whole lot of youth this season thats going to become upperclassmen over the next year or two, making this squad one that's primed for a come-up in 2019-20 and will probably show more than a few signs of that over the course of this campaign.
"We want to make sure we are succeesful as a team, not just successful individually. Before we set out starting lineup we're still looking at a couple things. We've got a couple kids out with injuries, which will change the playing field a little bit in regards to who starts," Cox said. "We have a pretty good idea of hopefully what our roster will look like come conference time. We just have to get those athletes back healthy and we'll go from there."
As for the event itself, Cox couldn't have been happier. Her gratitude towards everyone who came out was as immense as it was evident, but one thing she wasn't was surprised.
"We had a really good turnout. At one point one of the girls turned to me and said, 'Coach, that's a lot of sports drink.' So, we had a very good turnout. A lot of parents. A lot of the community. A lot of support, in general," Cox said. "We always have, in Mexico. Our community supports us very well and I think we had a great turnout. I think the girls are going to have to make a couple trips to get everything back there, which is good."
Having just hosted thier jamboree on Aug. 18, which featured Montgomery County, Brookfield and Hallsville, the Lady Bulldogs are now off until Aug. 27 when they begin the season on the road in Ashland against Southern Boone at 5:30 p.m. Mexico's first home match isn't until Aug. 30 when it hosts Kirksville in North Central Missouri Conference action at 6 p.m.