COVINGTON, Ga. — When the Newton Lady Rams left the field on Tuesday, the players were smiling, laughing and joking among themselves. There was a positive atmosphere for Newton. One would assume they had just won their Region 4-AAAAAAAA game against Brookwood.
However, that was not the case. Newton lost to Brookwood 25-7 in each set.
The reason the Lady Rams stayed positive, however, had nothing to do with the end result. This was because their head coach, Daniel Caraway, had seen his players improve from the previous game.
He said the mentality helped energize the program during a tough season.
“At first we weren’t going to be able to compete with them,” Caraway said. “I tell them all the time to focus on the small wins.”
“Small wins” come in different ways for the Lady Rams.
“Serve errors really ate us up a night earlier in the year when we had eight to 10 serve errors,” Caraway said. “And tonight we only had four in three sets, which is a small win. Communicating is a small victory. We are still working on being able to talk to each other and listen to each other. And there is the small victory of getting one more point than last time.
This mental approach to every game has helped maintain an encouraging atmosphere for the Lady Rams all season.
Senior captain Makenzie Joseph acknowledged the importance of winning “small wins” for the future of Lady Rams volleyball.
“It’s almost like a short-term, long-term goal,” Joseph said. “It’s kind of like, ‘Oh I want to do this and I want to do that. And, in the long run, that’s what’s going to come out of it. stay positive. And eventually, those “small wins” add up to a “big win.” That certainly helps.
Overcoming youth and inexperience at all levels has been another factor in the growth of this team. Players must learn the sport in the middle of competition as the season progresses.
Joseph highlighted how each player has bonded and come together to support each other in the growth process.
“I feel like the whole team has learned to move around the pitch a lot better,” Joseph said. “Even from the first game to the last game, I could see a big difference.”
Carvi also doesn’t determine this season’s success based on win-loss record. He noticed that his players were making great strides in their progression.
With that, he believes this season was the one that moved the program in the right direction.
“I think we’re doing outstanding,” Caraway said. “Where we are now compared to where we were at the start of the year is much better than I could have hoped for.”