HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

Round Rock eyes improvement as district play heats up

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Round Rock volleyball coach Diane Watson is focused on three things as the district season really starts to heat up.

For the longtime leader of the Lady Dragons, the focus going forward is on receiving serves, being more aggressive attacking opponents offensively and not letting mistakes pile up.

“You have to have a short-term memory and move on to the next play,” she said. “Just because I made one mistake doesn’t mean I need to make two or three. Sometimes that’s an individual. Right now, for this time in the season, our short term memory should be better.”

Watson’s volleyball pedigree speaks for itself, both as a player and a coach. She was the first Texas volleyball player to be named All-Conference three years in a row, was a two-time college All-American and graduated with numerous school records.

As a coach, her most recent streak includes making the playoffs with Round Rock every year since 2014.

As of Tuesday morning, the Lady Dragons are 2-2 early on in District 13-6A play, beating Hendrickson too tart the year and downing Leander, but suffering losses to Vandegrift and Vista Ridge. 

“We’re doing a much better job blocking,” Watson said. “I think pretty much everybody would say the same thing. I think our passing has gotten better and our defense has gotten better. We’ve gotten better at all aspects of the game (since the beginning of the year.)”

Sophomore Mackenna Garnder leads the team with 141 kills while sophomore Kaitlyn Bradley has 266 digs and 46 aces to top the Lady Dragons’ stat sheet.

But while the two sophomores lead those categories, just about all the other top stat leaders for Round Rock are upperclassmen. 

Yasmina Kadich has 136 kills and 46 total blocks, Lauren Malone has 127 kills, Grace Adams has 590 assists and 177 digs and junior Joley Plummer has 187 digs and is second with 33 serving aces. 

The wealth of senior talent the Lady Dragons have is not unique across the district. 

Watson said defending district champion Vandegrift returned almost everyone — including the district MVP — and other teams like Westwood and Vista Ridge returned all but one or two of their starters. 

Just because Round Rock has senior leadership doesn’t mean the expectations have been raised. 

The district season continues when the Lady Dragons head to McNeil to face off with the Mavericks Friday at 6:30 p.m. and continues on Tuesday when they host Cedar Ridge.  

“From a district standpoint, almost everybody across the board is senior-laden,” she said. “You can’t say we’re going to be better because they’re all getting better right alongside of us. Next year, we’re all going to be kind of rebuilding.”

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