Monday's volleyball matchup between Magna Vista and Martinsville was a meeting of teams seemingly going in opposite directions.
With a quick and tidy 3-0 sweep of the Bulldogs at Martinsville Middle School, with set scores of 25-3, 25-7, 25-12, the visiting Warriors improved to 6-3 overall and 3-0 in the Piedmont District.
"We're coming out a little more consistent than we have in the past," said Magna Vista head coach Jessica France. "Our team dynamic, the attitude, is more eager. They're hustling more, talking more and of course that changes the way we play."
Meanwhile, the loss dropped Martinsville to 1-6 overall (1-2 Piedmont District), and head coach Tanner Sweitzer lamented his team's inconsistencies in communication and execution.
"We didn't play to our standard," Sweitzer said. "We played flat out of the gate, and we continued playing flat all three sets."
The Warriors built a 9-2 lead in the opening set, forcing a Bulldogs timeout. Martinsville won only one more point the rest of that game as Magna Vista romped to a 1-0 set lead.
The middle set unfolded in much the same way, with Magna Vista opening up a commanding advantage in the early stages. Martinsville won three straight points, to narrow a 15-4 game to 15-7, but the Bulldogs were held without a point for the remainder of the set.
The third set saw Martinsville remain more competitive deeper into the game, even taking a 4-3 lead early on. Once the scales eventually tipped in the other direction, the Bulldogs won another stretch of three consecutive points to prolong the match when Magna Vista was two points away from victory.
Despite the progress on the scoreboard after each set, Sweitzer was adamant that there is much progress still to be made, both in volleyball IQ and overall confidence.
"Something we need improve on is not only worrying about our opponent, but worrying about how we can fix ourselves to get better each day," he said.
There were not many kills to go around on Martinsville's side, but Savasiah Boyd and Tyreniasha Dillard tied for the team lead with two.
On the other side, Magna Vista was encouraged by not only its performance against Martinsville, but also in its start to the season.
Senior Mackenzie Hairston said the team has made a concerted effort to elevate its level of play instead of playing down to its opponents.
"We did better (Monday) by limiting our mistakes and giving the ball to the other team and letting them make their mistakes," she said.
Both Hairston and France recognized the team's success serving the ball Monday, an effort led by four aces from Danielle Draper and three more from Morgan Smith.
Hairston tallied eight digs, three kills and a block in the match, while Smith and Emma Hankins led the way with five kills each.
"They're going after the point instead of waiting for the point to happen to them," France said of her team. "In the past, I felt we were a little too laid-back on the court, just waiting to see what happens, and this year we're making more things happen."
Magna Vista will go back on the road to Tunstall on Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest.
Martinsville will also head on the road today to take on Halifax at 7 p.m.