The Van Alstyne varsity girls volleyball team fell in straight sets on the road against Ponder in the first game of the season.

The Panthers (0-1) lost two sets by double digits and another by nine points. Van Alstyne started each set strong, but lost traction about halfway through each time.

“We definitely beat ourselves,” Panthers coach Veronica Valdez said. “There were a lot of errors that come from a lot of inexperience on the court. We weren’t aggressive and trying to go get the ball.”

To combat runs made by Ponder (1-1), Valdez utilized timeouts to regroup her team and make lineup adjustments. Van Alstyne used multiple combinations of players that haven’t competed as a unit yet this season.

The Panthers often weren’t aggressive enough trying to get to the ball and could have communicated better throughout the match, according to Valdez. However, Valdez said she was proud of the strategical changes her team made after falling behind in the third set.

“Not a lot of high school teams are going to be good at adjusting to that, but I thought the girls did a good job,” Valdez said.

The win was Ponder’s first of the season after losing in straight sets to Melissa on the road Monday, Aug. 8. In front of a home crowd Tuesday, the Lions balanced quality sets with powerful hits from multiple strikers to keep Van Alstyne on their heels.

“I thought tonight was a real confidence booster,” coach Stormi Lancaster said. “There are three girls on the team that haven’t played on varsity before. It was good for them to know what it feels like to get into a groove and get a win.”

The Panthers look to bounce back in their first home game versus the Red River Rattlers on Thursday at 6 p.m.