Photo by Beau Bearden.
KINGMAN – A lot has changed from a year ago when Molly Creagh took over as head coach of the Kingman High School volleyball team. Creagh and the Lady Bulldogs were unfamiliar with each other at this point last season, but that’s no longer the case.
“They know what to expect from me and even tryouts go a lot smoother because they already know what I’m expecting from them,” Creagh said. “They work a lot harder. I’m not having to reiterate myself as much this year because they want to make it and I want them to make it. So we’re all on the same page this year, so it’s great.”
The familiarity has also helped Creagh gain confidence, especially during a summer featuring conditioning and a camp. The time together was not only beneficial for the Lady Bulldogs, but it also helped them develop faith in each other.
“This year the girls trust each other a lot more and they trust me a lot more,” Creagh said.
Kingman will undoubtedly benefit from the newfound belief and it’s already looking to be a characteristic to lean on during the season.
“Our No. 1 strength is the family bond,” Creagh said. “They know each other inside and out because they’re around each other all the time. … Those girls were here all through the summer, so a lot of their verticals got stronger. They were in the weight room every day and got stronger.”
On the flip side of the coin, Creagh knows mental toughness is something the Lady Bulldogs can work on. While it has gotten stronger, she still sees room for improvement.
“Making it through all three sets and not giving up on a play – we’re still working really hard on that,” Creagh said. “Really taking initiative and keeping that initiative throughout any game or play.”
If Kingman can find that drive Creagh is talking about, it can quickly improve on a 1-9 mark in the 3A West last season. The Lady Bulldogs didn’t get off to a great start and its lone victory came in a 3-2 win over River Valley in the season finale.
With that said, Creagh is looking forward to a few other section opponents.
“I’m looking forward to games with Chino Valley and Wickenburg,” she said. “We were really close last year. Now that we have more of a team bond and a better understanding of each other, we’ll do a better job of being mentally prepared and hopefully win those matches this year.”