Coming to William Chrisman this summer as the new volleyball coach, Dean Rausch knew nothing about his Bears team prior to July 1.
And Tuesday’s jamboree at home against Oak Grove, Raytown and Raytown South served as the one look of live competition he’ll see before the Bears start the regular season.
But as a coach whose teams at St. John and Pratt in central Kansas won 625 matches at 76-percent clip, Rausch can make a fair gauge of where his team is at and where it needs to go after Tuesday.
“I saw a lot of good stuff,” Rausch said after Chrisman claimed both half sets against each of their three visitors. “I know we have a long way to go, but at this point every team has a long way to go.
“We played together, we played hard and above all they seemed to enjoy themselves out there.”
With teams playing two sets of first-to-13, Chrisman faced only minor challenges, downing Oak Grove 13-9, 13-2; Raytown 13-9, 13-8; and Ray-South 13-6, 13-5.
The consistency of his team’s ball movement was one aspect that pleased Rausch.
“What I can see more than anything else, our passing was better than I thought it would be at this point,” he said. “Our downs were little downs, and our ups were little ups.
“Some of our hitters had some pretty strong kills. Our middles had some pretty strong attacks, but some of the girls on the outside had some good attacks, too.”
Bears senior Liz Snow said compared to last season, when the Bears went 14-16-1, they have been better at playing without thinking or worrying too much.
“The team is about staying out of our heads and just playing together,” Snow said. “Our communication is going real well, and our setter, Jordyn Atagi, has improved tremendously from last year. She was making stronger decisions.
“There was no drama. Just cohesive fun, overall.”