With 22 games into the season, the Lady Apaches’ record stands at 12-17, and volleyball Head Coach Dana Hatch believes the ladies will have to work a lot harder if they want the conference title.

Although the ladies ranked No. 22 nationally last season, the team is in a slump.

They began the season dominating the TJC invitational in Wagstaff Gymnasium with a record of 3-1.

“That tournament was just what we needed,” sophomore Chelsea Lyons said.

Because the ladies won and lost, it gave them just the amount of “confidence” needed to kick off the season, but enough humility to remind them they will still have to “earn respect,” Lyons said.

“We are one and one with Panola College, which is a team we will see in Conference,” Assistant Coach Andrea Parker said.

Panola isn’t the only team in their conference the Lady Apaches have a tied record with. After losing the first time around, the ladies played “five hard fighting” matches with Paris Junior College, coach Hatch said.

“Our conference is very even…every win will definitely be earned by the winning team,” she said.

Conference teams consist of Blinn, Panola, Paris and Navarro colleges, with Blinn and Panola Colleges at the No. 1 and 2 spots.

Teams ranked at the bottom of conference could change from game to game, and all five teams have equal abilities, coach Parker said.

“Blinn College was the 2008 National Champion, and they are returning all but one player so their team is solid,” coach Hatch said.

Coach Hatch said she is seeing improvement in every aspect of their game and that the ladies continue to work hard in practice.

The ladies execute serve-receive, setting, hitting and blocking drills at their 7 a.m. practices Monday through Friday. Practice time is being used on both offensive and defensive game simulations and drills.

The ladies are scheduled to play Temple College on Oct. 17 and Navarro College on Oct. 19 both at home in Wagstaff Gymnasium.

If they want the conference title, they will have to work hard.

“The ladies have got to get out of this hole that they’re stuck in,” Coach Hatch said.

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