COVINGTON, Ga. — When the Newton Lady Rams walked off the court on Tuesday, players were smiling, laughing and joking with each other. There was a positive atmosphere for Newton. One might assume they’d just won their Region 4-AAAAAAA match against Brookwood.
However, that wasn’t the case. Newton lost to Brookwood 25-7 in each set.
The reason why the Lady Rams remained positive, though, had nothing to do with the final result. It was because their head coach, Daniel Caraway, had seen improvement from his players from the match prior.
He said that mentality has helped boost the program during a tough season.
“Going into it, we weren’t going to be able to compete with them,” Caraway said. “I tell them all the time to focus on little wins.”
“Little wins” come in different ways for the Lady Rams.
“Service errors really ate us up one night earlier in the year when we had eight to 10 service errors,” Caraway said. “And tonight we only had four in all three sets, which is a little win. Communicating is a little win. We’re still working on being able to talk to and listen to each other. And there’s the little win of getting one more point than we did last time.”
That mental approach to each game has helped maintain an encouraging atmosphere for the Lady Rams all season.
Senior captain, Makenzie Joseph recognized how important gaining “little wins” has been to 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 this. And, in the long-term, this is what’s going to come out of it.’ When you build and improve on those ‘little wins,’ it helps you stay positive. And eventually, those ‘little wins’ add up to a ‘big win.’ It definitely helps.”
Overcoming youth and inexperience on all levels has been another factor in this team’s growth. Players are having to learn the sport in the midst of competition as the season progresses.
Joseph highlighted how every player has bought in and come together to support one another in the growing process.
“I feel like the whole team has learned how to move on the court a lot better,” Joseph said. “Even from the first game to the last game, I could see a big difference.”
Caraway is not determining this season’s success based on the win-loss record, either. He’s noticed his players taking great strides in their progression.
With that, he believes this season has been one that is moving the program in the right direction.
“I think we’re doing exceptional,” Caraway said. “Where we are now versus where we were at the beginning of the year is way better than what I could’ve hoped for.”