Morgan Baldwin, Dorothy Swanson Lift White Oak Past John Tyler, Rusk
WHITE OAK -- With Morgan Baldwin setting and Dorothy Swanson killing, the White Oak Ladynecks beat the John Tyler Lady Lions 22-25, 25-7, 25-5, 25-14 and swept the Rusk Lady Eagles 25-18, 25-16, 25-19 on Tuesday night.
Swanson finished the first match with 20 kills, one block and one assist. Baldwin, a junior, had 22 assists, one kill, one ace and three digs.
"This game is so much mental toughness," White Oak coach Carolee Musick said. "Fundamentals, and mental toughness is what we are always working on."
Junior Rebecca Green also chipped in with seven kills and three blocks for the Ladynecks (11-2) in the first match.
"Sometimes when you get beat in a game, it's very hard to bounce back from that," Musick said. "The game's never over until it's over, and we try to play with that mentality."
The Ladynecks finished the night knocking out Rusk in three sets, with Swanson contributing 11 kills, two blocks, and one ace. Baldwin added 12 assists and three dig and Green finished with eight kills and three blocks.
"We can't be too happy with where we are. We have to look forward to where we need to be down the road," Musick added.
In the second match of the evening, John Tyler defeated Rusk 12-25, 25-18, 25-16, 29-27.
The Lady Lions (11-8) were led by sophomore DeDe Rouge, who controlled the net with nine blocks and two kills. Junior Kashanti Flowers also had six blocks and two kills, while senior Lebero Dakia Allen roamed the back line with seven digs in the mid-match victory.
"It's all a learning experience," Lady Lions coach Stephanie March-Smith said. "We're still growing, we're going to get better. We need to learn how to fight. We can play, we just need to stay focused."
Rusk head coach Stephanie Branch remarked about how hard her team played.
"We played right there with (John Tyler)," she said. "My girls have a lot of heart, they really do go all out. Sometimes we make mental mistakes but that's the price of a young team."
Rusk (7-9) has just nine players, four of which have never played varsity until this season.
The Lady Eagles were led by senior setter Juliann Bowling, who had four blocks, four kills and three assists against John Tyler. Shayla Townsend added eight kills, two assists and three digs.
Captain sophomore lebero Bailee Gates was a bright spot for Rusk as well.
"She played for us last year as a freshman, and she stepped up tonight," Branch said. "She's a great leader on the floor, very vocal, and she's the one that gets everybody up and going. We're progressing, we're getting better. I have nothing but tough girls, no complainers. We're building."
White Oak, John Tyler and Rusk all participate in the Tyler tournament this weekend.