Round Rock has a drill it does in practice called the three-minute drill in which the team is forced to run if the ball hits the ground.
That mindset helped the Dragons rally in the final two sets on their way to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-23) sweep of Cedar Ridge in the opening game of the second round of district play Tuesday night. Round Rock has won five matches in a row.
"We started early in the season with great chemistry and we've grown on that," Round Rock senior outside hitter Lauren Malone said. "I think that's what makes our team so much better than other teams is we have sure great relationships, and that's what helps you win games."
Malone led the Dragons with 18 kills, Grace Adams had 26 assists, Yasmina Kadish had three blocks and two aces and Joley Plummer and Sarah Keilen each had 12 digs.
Micayla Harris and Juliana Stock each had six kills for Cedar Ridge, Jordan Valdez had 12 assists and 14 digs, Taylor Hamm also had 14 digs, Andi Wagner finished with four blocks and Alicia Becerra had a pair of aces.
"We were a little out of rhythm," Round Rock head coach Diane Watson said. "We really weren't smooth tonight. We made some adjustments late that I like to see on defense, it just took a little while to get to that point. We never had a sense of urgency."
Round Rock won the first four points in the first set and never looked back. Cedar Ridge rallied to as little as five points, but the Dragons had enough to hold off the charge.
"I think overall we made a ton of mistakes," Cedar Ridge head coach Macie Walker said. "Round Rock is a solid program and playing in their gym is tough. We knew coming in what our goals were and we didn't always meet those standards. We just need to make fewer errors and we're right in that game."
The Raiders got out to an early lead in the second set and extended their lead to as many as five points. Round Rock cut the lead to two out of a timeout and then tied the set at 20 points apiece before winning the final three points to take a 2-0 match lead.
Cedar Ridge once again led early in the final set, but the Dragons rebounded to take a 13-11 lead and force a Cedar Ridge timeout. The Raiders led for the middle part of the set, but Malone came in and sparked a late rally to help the Dragons sweep their Round Rock ISD rivals for the second time this season.
"This team has a lot of grit and resiliency and those are the two things that got going to win matches like that," Watson said. "That didn't look like it, but it is when you know you are relaxed and you have confidence in what your team can do."
The win moves the Dragons (30-7 overall, 7-2 district) into sole possession of second place in District 13-6A, one game behind Vista Ridge. The Raiders (21-16, 4-5) are still on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
"Our girls have bought in and they fight for each other," Walker said. "Overall, the matches that we've won and the upsets that we have happened because we fight for each other and it's really them believing what we can do."
Round Rock travels to take on current No. 4 seed Westwood, while Cedar Ridge is on the road against Stony Point. Both matches are set to begin Friday at 6:30 p.m.
"We knew there were going to be good teams in the district," Watson said. "We're all going to be holding our breath at the with Vista Ridge and Vandegrift and Westwood all playing each other in the last week."