SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County volleyball team will travel to Brunswick on Saturday to compete in the Region 2-AAAAAA tournament.
It will be another stern test for head coach Brittany Lein’s young team but she’s seen it grow by leaps and bounds since the start of the season.
“I feel good,” Lein said. “We have been working really hard. I am finally starting to see things we’ve been working on in practice. I am starting to see where things have transitioned into games, which is exciting. That has been a plus.
“We are still struggling at finishing games. We are working on giving 110 percent all the time and not taking plays off. We have to play at our best from point one to point 25.
“I am seeing a lot of good things. I am seeing us work as a team. I am seeing us not give up on balls that at the beginning of the season we may have just let fall on the ground. I am seeing a lot of positive changes.”
Her young group, including Sara Bevill, Cailin Pritchard and Kinley Tucker, may not be experienced but it has endured a grueling schedule. The Lady Rebels will head into the region tournament as the No. 3 seed and Lein said that’s where she expects them to finish.
The event will serve as the trial run for state tournament. The Lady Rebels are paired with Region 4 and Lein sees the possibility of her team advancing past the first round.
“Mentally, I am moreso preparing us for the first round of state,” Lein said. “The region we are crossing over with is not a super strong region. And we’ve crossed over with that region before. Now that was a couple years ago and they could be a lot better, but I feel like we can be competitive with whoever we end up playing.
“I want us to work on things and grow and get better as a team, so we are prepared for what state brings us.”
For Lein, it’s all about coming together at the right time.
“I am seeing girls step up and lead the team,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve peaked yet but we don’t want to peak too early. We’ll look forward to a good tournament.”
Effingham County is 9-27 overall and 4-4 in region play. Despite knowing she would have a young team — Cam Allen is the lone senior — Lein refused to change the schedule to make things easier.
Knowing she’ll have three more seasons with most of her players, she wanted to expose them to the competitive play .
“... I could have changed our schedule to play teams that fit us better as a team but I am not going to compromise our schedule for the future,” Lein said. “We still have an extremely competitive schedule. We played some top teams that gave us a run for our money.
“We’ve grown from that.”