Timid to tenacious.
That's the transition Lafayette's volleyball team has made this season, the latest example being the host Generals' tense 2-1 victory over Tates Creek Tuesday night.
Lafayette crushed the Commodores 25-10 in the first set, lost 25-23 in the second, then prevailed 25-23 in a back-and-forth finale to the match.
Senior middle hitter Emily Kincaid and junior outside hitter Sarah Jenkins led the Generals with their ferocious play at the net.
"At the beginning of the year we would've lost this game because we would've gotten timid at the end," Jenkins said. "Now we're being aggressive, and that's why we're winning."
Kincaid said Lafayette "used to be known as a timid team when we saw Tates Creek or Dunbar or Henry Clay on the other jersey. We'd get scared and back down.
"But not anymore, not tonight."
Generals Coach Chris Langston said he's been preaching that message all season, and he's glad to hear and see that his team has developed a tougher attitude.
"If they believe it, I believe it," Langston said.
Tates Creek Coach Shannon Alford didn't see any fear from the Generals, especially Kincaid and Jenkins.
"Oh, they're beasts," she said. "They're top-notch players who challenged us a lot. They brought their 'A' game and did an outstanding job."
After graduating seven seniors off last year's team, Langston was hoping Kincaid would step up as a leader.
He saw her fill that role against Tates Creek.
"The big thing was late in the game Emily turned around and started yelling at her teammates, 'Let's go!'
"That's what we've been waiting for, somebody to convince her teammates they can do it."
Lafayette got contributions from a lot of people Tuesday night.
Kincaid, Jenkins and Courtney Wright were able to finish Annie King's sets.
Chandler Kinley, the libero, was all over the court.
Jackie Britt and Brittany Smith made clutch plays, too.
"Our passing was great, our serves were great ... everybody stepped up for us," Kincaid said.
Tates Creek could've been discouraged after Lafayette went on a 16-2 run to finish the first set. But the Commodores, led by setters Danielle Merryman and Jennifer Carter, bounced back to take the second set, rallying to score the last four points.
Hailee Woodward, Kennedy Powell, Kendall Beerman and Ellie Schroader helped make that push, and also take Lafayette to the wire in the final set.
"I'm not upset. I'm actually very pleased," Alford said. "I knew we had some heart. We just had to bring it out, and we did in the last two games.
"I have a lot of hope for us this season. We still have a lot to learn, and I hope the girls take this as a learning experience and keep growing from here."