Coach Stephanie March-Smith Returns to Sidelines, Leads John Tyler to Sweep of Mabank
TYLER -- The John Tyler Lady Lions swept the Mabank Lady Panthers at the Lions Den on Tuesday night, 25-18 25-16 25-17, in both teams' final tune-up for district play.
John Tyler welcomed back head coach Stephanie March-Smith, who had been out for three weeks while recovering from Achilles tendon surgery, in a big way.
"I'm just so proud of these girls," March-Smith said. "We've got district this Friday, so we really wanted to go in with some momentum."
The Lady Lions owned the net, collecting 17 blocks in the three-set match. Senior outside blocker Breanna Choice had five blocks and five kills and DeDe Rouge chipped in four blocks, three assists and three kills. Senior Amicia Williams added eight kills in the sweep.
Mabank (17-10) got close in the second set, down 20-16, but junior Kashanti Flowers served three straight aces to kill the Lady Panthers' chances in splitting the first two games.
The Lady Lions also got great performances from Erica Franklin and Quaneshia Johnson. The senior duo filled the stat line with six kills, six assists and eight digs combined.
The Mabank Lady Panthers were led by senior setter Kourtney Holyfield, who had 12 assists and three aces, while senior Morgan Gaona added eight kills, two aces and two assists. Bailey Swain also had six kills, two blocks and 18 digs for Mabank.
"(Holyfield and Gaona) are multi-sport athletes," Mabank coach Stacy Shelton said. "They're good at everything they do. They're our leaders. We play teams like this to get ready for district. We play teams like John Tyler who are very athletic."
Both teams begin district play Friday with John Tyler playing host to Jacksonville in 16-4A, while Mabank travels to Van in 15-3A.