McALESTER — With a 5-17 record, the McAlester Lady Buffalo volleyball team will head to Tuesday’s Regional tournament seeded fourth.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Lady Buffs, as they’ll open Regionals against Tahlequah — the only one of their potential opponents against which they’ve already played.
“I feel very confident about my team,” Lady Buffs coach Anita Burns said Saturday.
“They were super-excited on Friday when I told them the pairing for the Regional that we had drawn. Some of the comments were, ‘We can beat them,’ ‘We know what their gameplan is,’ ‘We’ve practiced that.’”
McAlester played Tahlequah on Sept. 10, losing in three games. The Lady Buffs scored at least 11 points in all three games, however, making an upset possible if the defense can step up.
“We have spent a great deal of time working on serve, serve-receive and fine-tuning our defense against tips and pushes and not just the hard-driven hits,” Burns said. “So we have a gameplan, and we’ve been able to institute that gameplan against different opponents and have some success with it.”
Burns added that her team looked vulnerable to tip-and-push offenses earlier in the season, leading to its current defensive strategy.
“We purposed from that we had to defend it,” she said. “We just had to, and we needed to learn to play that game, to be able to use it to our benefit to be able to make points with it, but also to defend it.”
Learning how to defend against tips and pushes like they could face at Regionals requires what Burns called “court awareness.” Multiple defensive reps help build that awareness, but so does learning how to tip on offense.
“If you’re offensively using push-and-tip, you’re seeing the holes,” Burns said.