Paul Laurence Dunbar's volleyball program is used to success, having averaged 27 wins in Jenni Morgan's first six seasons as coach.
The victories haven't come in bunches this year, though.
With an all-new starting lineup, the Bulldogs have been a work in progress, struggling to find consistency.
With one week left in the regular season, though, Morgan is happy with how her team has improved.
The latest evidence came Thursday night as host Dunbar beat Lexington Catholic in the Cancer Classic, a fund-raiser for the Markey Cancer Center and the Lexington Dream Factory.
"It has been a challenging year because we've relied on a lot of girls that haven't had varsity experience," Morgan said. "But they've done a great job sticking together. They support each other and are very big into making it a team atmosphere."
Dunbar showed it can play with a lead as it breezed to a 25-16 first-set victory over Lexington Catholic. Then it showed it can play catch-up. It trailed most of the second set but rallied to win 26-24.
"Recently, once we've gotten behind we've kind of gone into a shell," Morgan said. "It was great to see the girls respond and come back from a deficit tonight."
Gabbi Thatcher, a junior, led the Bulldogs by forcing the action on offense and defense. Juniors Emma Landers, Ellee English and Joia Pollard, and sophomore Jenna Mullert also played well at the net.
"It was a total team effort," Morgan said. "Everyone did something positive."
It was Dunbar's third victory in its last 15 matches, so it was much appreciated.
"It hasn't been an easy year particularly," Thatcher said. "But that's one of the things we've worked on as a team. We've learned not to blame anybody. You have to take responsibility for yourself:
"We did that (in the second set) tonight. When we got behind, we pushed on, and that's something we've been waiting to see.
"This is going to raise our confidence so much."
Lexington Catholic is a lot like Dunbar — it's a young team lacking in overall experience and size.
Coach Mark McCloskey said the Knights' main problem is "we're just really, really inconsistent.
"We're small and not real athletic, so we rely on effort and skill level. We have to be at full speed, going hard all the time to have any success. We showed some of that in the second set tonight."
Alli Deaton, Lexington Catholic's senior leader, did all she could.
"She's our rock," McCloskey said. "She does anything and everything for us."
Jane Burns and Lyndsay Young, both seniors, and junior Cody Michaels helped the Knights push Dunbar to the wire in the second set.
But Lexington Catholic couldn't finish off the Bulldogs and lost to them for the seventh consecutive time since 2004.