After a largely one-sided affair against Glenn Tuesday night, all Rouse head coach Jacob Thompson was concerned with was how to get even better.
The Raiders won their 10th games in a row and stayed undefeated and alone atop the District 17-5A standings with a 3-0 (25-11, 25-10, 25-19) sweep of the Grizzlies with just two weeks left in the regular season.
“We’ve got to play cleaner,” Thompson said. “We played pretty clean in sets one and two and we got a little sloppy in set three. Our focus needs to be on playing a smoother game and working on what we need to do to get better.”
Junior Grayson Schirpik led Rouse with 13 kills and finished second with 17 digs. Reilly Heinrich led the Raiders with 26 digs, MacKenzie Huntley had 10 kills and Kara Erfurth finished with 37 assists.
“We need to minimize our errors and put ourselves in the best position to score and let the game work itself out,” Huntley said. “It’s just about making the least amount of mistakes that we can. There were times tonight we were more inconsistent than others.”
Before the district schedule started, Rouse was well under .500 and battling a mixture of injuries and players new to the varsity level stepping into new, much larger roles on a team that was in the state title game last season.
Thompson said during August, there were nine matches where regular starters were limited due to injury, but also said nobody’s winning any district titles in August.
Now the Raiders are starting to get in a groove and have only lost two sets during district play, one to Pflugerville and another to second place Cedar Park.
“This year we have a much younger team, we have some sophomores playing,” Huntley said. “it just took us a while to get that team chemistry going, but once we got that rolling we were playing much more consistent and playing a lot better.”
It didn’t take long for Rouse to find its footing Tuesday night as the Raiders got out to an 11-2 lead in the first set and pushed that lead even further before running away with the frame by 14 points.
The Raiders again jumped out to an early lead, but Glenn cut the lead to seven points and Thompson called timeout. Rouse went on a 6-0 run and win 12 of the final 16 points to take a 2-0 match lead.
The Grizzlies started the third set strong and led early on, but with Schirpik serving, Rouse rallied to take the lead midway through the set. Glenn cut the lead to as little as three points, but the Raiders held off the charge.
Glenn is still in a battle for a playoff position and hosts Marble Falls next Friday night. Rouse is at Weiss on Friday night before traveling to face Cedar Park next Tuesday for a match that will most likely decide the district champion.
“We’ve got to be better on the serving line and be better on the first touch,” Thompson said. ‘We’ve got to be a little less predictable out of our offensive side of things. We got healthy at the right time and now it’s about staying the course.”