The signs were there.

The effort was too.

It was merely the results that came up short on Thursday night, in the eye of EHS head volleyball coach Ashley Nehls.

Her Spartans fell in a three-set battle to Shawnee Mission Northwest before getting swept in straight sets by Blue Valley Southwest in a triangular at E-High.

The first game saw EHS drop the first set 25-18 before rallying for a 25-21 victory in the second. Shawnee Mission SW own the third set by a decisive 25-12 margin.

“That’s been commonality with us the last few matchups,” Nehls said. “It’s something we’ve been working on, but I think they get discouraged easily and start to shut down. We really depend on communication and making smart plays. That hurt us tonight.”

The Spartans went the distance in the opening set against BVSW, staying within a pair of points late, but falling by a 25-22 margin. The second set resulted in a 25-14 loss.

“We’re going to continue to work on that serve-receive,” Nehls said. “We’ve gotten ourselves into a few ruts serve-receive wise, just that connection between all three of those positions. Keep working to get better, that’s our goal.”

The resolve the Spartans utilized in winning the second set and remaining close in the first set of game two stood out as learning moments and will hopefully stick as the season moves on.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” Nehls said. “I told them, now we know what you’re able to do, now what we know what you’re capable of. They’ve got a lot of talent and they’ve got a lot of heart. These are good teams we played tonight and I saw some really good things out of our girls.

E-High will next play in a tournament at Valley Center on Saturday.

“I think playing high quality teams like this is only going to make us better,” Nehls said. “I think we’ll be ready for this weekend. I know it’s going to be a tough weekend for us, but I think we know what we’re capable of and we can ... play with just about anybody.”

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