Marisah Ingram + Iesha Bryant Lead Carthage in Comeback Win at Whitehouse
WHITEHOUSE -- After a Game 1 loss at Whitehouse, Marisah Ingram and Iesha Bryant powered Carthage to three consecutive victories in a 23-25, 25-21, 26-24, 25-20 volleyball win at Wildcat Arena.
Ingram finished with a match-high 14 kills and three blocks, while Bryant had 10 kills and a match-high five blocks to push Carthage's record to 5-4. Kenzie Tate had 35 assists as she set up the tall, athletic front-line duo the entire evening.
Carthage blew a 15-10 Game 1 lead to fall 25-23, then saw a 16-9 Game 2 lead evaporate before holding on to even the match. The teams were tied 19-19 in each of the final two games, but Carthage closed both to win the contest in four games.
Barker, in his first season as Carthage's head coach after a five-year tenure at Pine Tree and stints in Crockett and Mexia, believed the surroundings affected his team in the first two games.
"I just think that the atmosphere in here tonight was so relaxed that we were relaxing. There wasn't a high-intensity atmosphere and I think that it caused us to slow down a little bit," Barker said. "But we've gotta get over that. We've gotta play fast all the time."
Barker said Carthage's over-.500 record is a positive sign considering the Class 3A Lady Dogs have yet to face a team that isn't Class 5A or Class 4A.
"I think that's big. We wanted to play tough competition our first few matches, and that's only gonna make us better and make us faster," he said. "To be 5-4 right now, we're feeling good playing nothing but higher classifications."
Kaitlyn Anderson led Whitehouse (2-3) with eight kills and three blocks, while Kelly Keller also had eight kills. Ronnie Fountain had four kills and 26 assists. Ashton Ates added six kills and three blocks, while Lindsey Hannah had four kills.
Carthage's Camry Smith followed up Ingram and Bryant's efforts with seven kills. Teammate Cooper Clinton had four kills.
Whitehouse head coach Britney Nordin said playing Carthage will prepare the LadyCats to face District 16-4A foes that are likely to have big, athletic hitters similar to Ingram and Bryant.
"They are definitely two of the top hitters in East Texas, so it's good to see them early on," Nordin said. "We made some adjustments and we're still learning from them. I think that's a really good match to help prepare us for district because we'll see those kinds of hitters."
After splitting the first two games, the teams played mostly neck-and-neck for the majority of Games 3 and 4. Tied 19-19 in Game 3, Carthage got a 5-2 run fueled by one block and one kill from Ingram, but Whitehouse tied the scored 24-24 on Hannah and Keller kills.
A service error and a Bryant kill gave Carthage a 2-1 match advantage.
Game 4 once again led to a 19-19 tie, with Carthage making another late-game push to end the match. Ingram and Smith had two kills apiece during a 5-1 spurt to give the Lady Dogs the win.
"I still see potential," Nordin said. "We haven't quite gotten there yet, but that's the point of preseason is to smooth out those edges and polish everything up. I like what I see, and the girls know that there's still stuff to work on and focus on to help round us out."
Carthage plays in the ETBU tournament in Marshall on Thursday and Saturday. Whitehouse is off this weekend.