Maumelle assistant volleyball coach Jessi Beaver became the head coach last night when the Hornets traveled to Southside-Batesville. She filled in for head coach Jayme McCoy, who had brain surgery last Friday.

With two rare brain diseases, McCoy had her 18th brain surgery since January 2009 last week. Beaver said she has one disease where she gets too much fluid on her brain and another where her brain is too big for her head. Because of the surgery, McCoy couldn’t travel.

"More than anything, this has brought the girls together," Beaver said. "They made cards for her, support her and more than anything want to win. She told them at the beginning of the season that she might miss a game or two, so the girls were not surprised. We also told them Friday she might miss the match Tuesday."

Because the Hornets couldn’t get anyone to play them non-conference matches, their season began last week (most teams began play two weeks ago). They defeated Lonoke on the road, 4-1, and lost to Clinton at home in five sets.

"That was a very close game," Beaver said. "But, our own mistakes cost us. As Coach McCoy told the girls, they didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves."

One thing became evident in the matches last week. Maumelle needs to cut down on service errors and communicate better. But the coaches were impressed that when the girls did make a mistake they kept their heads up, and didn’t let the miscues bother them.

"The big thing is we missed too many serves, and we can’t do that in a varsity match," Beaver said. "If we lose by two or three points and miss two or three serves that could be the difference. Our big goal for the week is no missed serves."

The coaches’ plan is for the girls to have weekly goal on which to improve. Right now, they are working on short-term goals, and goals will be established week by week based on what happens in the matches during the week.

After yesterday’s match at Southside-Batesville, Maumelle hosts Heber Springs on Thursday. The Hornets have never played Heber Springs but the new alignment has them in the same conference.