Thunder Mountain is ready to take the next step, and there's no better time than today in the first round of the double-elimination Southeast Conference Region Volleyball Tournament in Ketchikan against the homestanding Kings.
"I feel like we're playing great," coach Adriana Rodriguez said. "Our match against JDHS last Saturday was a big step forward for us. The girls realized they can be competitive against a team like JDHS. It was good to see that they had to make some adjustments playing against us."
Rodriguez brought in some heavy-hitting former collegiate players to work the team in practice.
"This week, we had some ex-college players come in and hit at the girls and work with them a little bit," Rodriguez said. "I think they're coming into this weekend with some confidence, and it's exciting."
Thunder Mountain is 0-4 in match play against Ketchikan this year, but the Falcons have taken steps in the right direction in the program's second year.
Thunder Mountain has won two games from Ketchikan, and Rodriguez expects more to come this weekend.
"I think we have everything in order to be able to beat them," she said. "Something we've really been working on is getting the ball set up for either a front row attack or a back row attack. I think that's going to be a key against Ketchikan - always hitting the ball and trying to minimize any free balls from going over.
"They have a tough serving team, and that's been another focus for us," she continued. "Being on our toes and ready to move to the ball to make good passes to our setter, and hitting away is going to be key to our success."
The Falcons are ready to show what they've learned throughout the season, Rodriguez said.
"We're looking forward to it. We gained a lot of momentum against JDHS on Saturday," she said. "The girls came off the court feeling awesome, realizing they don't have to feel intimidated to play good teams.
"I think we've seen that momentum carry through the few practices that we've had," she continued. "I'm excited to see them bring that into regionals, and I think we're going to make some big plays and end up feeling really good about this weekend."