Lindale Opens District 16-5A Play With Dominating Sweep Of Jacksonville
LINDALE -- Graduation hit the Lindale Lady Eagles hard, leaving coach Meghan Renicker several question mark entering the new season.
After a challenging non-district campaign, Lindale opened District 16-5A play Tuesday night. And much of that uncertainty could be in the early stages of disappearing altogether.
Lindale rolled to a 25-6, 25-8, 25-16 sweep of Jacksonville in a match that lasted less than an hour, and left Renicker with a positive feeling after her team exited the gym.
"I think it was great for us because I've got a young group this year, and I think that they need the confidence to be built up a little bit," she said. "I think, slowly as the year's gone on, we've been getting a little more confident in our play. So, it was a good start tonight."
One of the biggest concerns Lindale (15-9, 1-0) faced coming into the season was how the setter position would come together after the departure of two-year starter Sydney Tiiman.
The duo of McKenna Cox and Kinsey Arnold finished Tuesday's match with a combined 31 assists in the three sets.
"McKenna has really stepped into the role and improved from Day 1, and Kinsey has, too," Renicker said. "We've worked really hard on it because we didn't have a setter that was left from last year."
Cox and Arnold took turns setting up the attacking duo of Rhyan Rand and Travicia Acy, who both dominated at the net. Rand led Lindale with 15 kills to go along with four aces, while Acy finished with 13 kills and a block.
"They both had really good nights," Renicker said of her two standout hitters. "I think they were excited to have their first district game at home. They are going to be two people that are going to be hard to stop in this district. So I'm pretty excited about how they started out tonight."
Kamryn Pilkington added seven kills and two blocks on the night for Lindale.
After rolling to wins in Games 1 and 2, Lindale struggled to put away Jacksonville (0-2 in district) in the third game. A 5-1 Jacksonville run cut Lindale's lead to 19-16, but the Lady Eagles finished off the match by scoring the set's final six points -- the last five with Rajel Flores at the service line.
"I think we just kinda slowed our game down on our end, and it was just trying to pick our game up to where it needed to be," Renicker said. "We were just making mental mistakes that were just uncalled for, but I think we started cleaning it up there at the end."
Lindale returns to action at home against Whitehouse at 4:30 p.m. Friday, while Jacksonville faces Lufkin at home -- also at 4:30 p.m. Friday.