The Elida Lady Tigers are already one step closer to a Class 1A state volleyball title than they were last year.
The Lady Tigers meet Tatum Lady Coyotes in the quarterfinals of the state tournament at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Roswell Goddard gymnasium.
Tatum is the District 8-1A regular-season and tournament champion.
“If you mess up, they’re coming at you hard,” Elida hitter Keisha Chenault said. “Especially in rally-scoring. You can’t make a mistake because every mistake you make goes for them.”
Elida was eliminated in the regional tournament last year.
“They’re very good,” Elida coach Darrell Chenault said of Tatum. “They don’t make many mistakes. They have one of the best hitters in the state. They have a middle blocker and a setter that are very good. They block well down the middle and there setter is versatile. That’s what makes them so good.”
This will be the first time that Elida plays coach Mike Majors and the Lady Coyotes this season.
The Lady Tigers (15-6) are coming off a loss Saturday the Region B championship match in which they were swept by the Fort Sumner Vixens (20-4).
Elida and Fort Sumner finished the District 3-1A season tied at 9-1, with the Vixens winning the district tournament.
“I stressed to the girls about getting our serves in,” Darrell Chenault said. “We had a bad night serving in Saturday’s game against Fort Sumner. We have to be able to pass well. If we pass well we can play with anybody. Sometimes we don’t give our hitters opportunities when we don’t make good passes.”
Keisha Chenault is one of Elida’s top hitters. Her presence in the middle will be one of Elida’s strengths.
Adrienne Cole and Amber Griffin are the other top hitters for Elida, who benefit from the sets of Haley Best and Casey Ford. Shalie Anthony will be one of the defensive specialists in charge of keeping the passing game on track.
“We need to improve on our passing and serving,” Cole said. “We need to improve on the simple things. They’ve (Tatum) been in our district and we know how they play.”
Des Moines won the state championship last season over Tatum.
“We work well as a team,” Keisha Chenault said. “One of our strengths is that we are a close-knit team and we keep attacking.”