There's something about the first set that seems to be slowing down the Southside Mavericks.
That, however, is the only thing standing in the way.
Sophomore Aleigha Johnson had seven kills to pace the Mavericks to a 25-18, 25-12, 25-10 sweep of the Russellville Lady Cyclones on Thursday in the Mavericks' 2018 homer opener at Southside Gym.
Senior Hannah Holland finished with five kills and three blocks, and senior Emily Bass was her usual solid self with 15 kills.
"I think with every first set there are some jitters, and especially with having such a big crowd," Holland said. "There's a lot of nerves for the young kids coming in. It was good to get the nerves out the first set."
"We had too many bad serves in the first game," Southside coach Steve Haaser said. "I think that kept them in the game. (But) we started playing pretty well, and we ended up playing really well the last two games."
The Mavericks, 2-0, travel to Bentonville on Saturday and hit the teeth of the schedule next week with matches against Greenwood and Conway.
"I think the tournament, especially, will make us better," Holland said. "Then we're going to come in and practice hard for those two games. Since we've played them a lot, we know some of the girls. I think we're going to be ready."
Southside's younger players also played well in Thursday's home opener. Along with Johnson, fellow sophomores Avery Fitzgerald and Hannah Hogue contributed with six and five kills, respectively.
Hogue also had 10 kids, five assists and four aces.
Holland finished with three kills in the first set, and seniors Sarah Tolbert and Zoe Rogers played well in the second game. The Mavericks ran off nine straight points in the second set for a quick 25-12 victory.
Tolbert's nice set for Johnson led to a 14-0 run in the third game. Tolbert finished with 14 assists.
"The atmosphere was really good; we actually had a big crowd at home tonight," Holland said. "It meant a lot to our seniors to have our last first home game here. We're really excited."
"We've got a lot of weapons," Haaser said. "Our defense is really, really good, and our passers, with Sarah Tolbert and Hannah Hogue setting, they put the ball in good position, and we have quite a few hitters who can swing it.
"I like this team, we just have to keep working hard."