Spring Hill Holds Off Whitehouse In Five + Sweeps Tyler All Saints In Dual Match
LONGVIEW -- The Spring Hill Lady Panthers began Tuesday's dual match in typical dominating fashion, only to see their grip loosen for an instant.
Spring Hill was pushed to five games by Whitehouse after taking a 2-0 lead, but responded with a hard-fought Game 5 victory, earning a 25-16, 25-22, 22-25, 22-25, 15-12 win at Panther Gymnasium.
The Lady Panthers (22-5) then put the finishing touches on a successful night with a 25-15, 25-16, 25-21 sweep of Tyler All Saints.
Spring Hill coach Karen Brundrett was frustrated by her team's play midway through the match with Whitehouse (17-10), but seemed content with how they finished.
"That's the team that comes after them, and does what it needs to do to win," Brundrett said of the Game 5 win. "Where was that team the third and fourth game?"
Despite the early deficit, Whitehouse coach Britney Nordin was pleased at how quickly the LadyCats turned things around.
"Volleyball's definitely a mental game, so it was good to see them overcome that, because it was rough those first two games," Nordin said. "We weren't necessarily playing our game, making errors that we normally don't make. So it was impressive for them to come back and recover from those two losses, because it can be hard to get out of that mind frame."
Ann Hollas led Spring Hill with 16 kills, 18 assists, four blocks and two aces. Mikai Brown added 14 kills, Jenna Hampton provided 12 kills and five blocks, Audrey Collier contributed nine kills, three blocks and two aces, and the duo of Keeley McCain and Payton White combined for 25 assists.
Brundrett, despite getting meaningful contributions from several different players on the roster, said her team could do much better.
"I have three setters and I can switch off, and all three of those setters are first-year varsity setters," she said. 'It allows me, if one of them's off, to go to the other one. I'm kinda locked in on the outsides, but tonight, what happened in the Whitehouse game was all three setters were off slightly. We couldn't connect with the hitters and we couldn't put the ball down."
Whitehouse was led in defeat by Ashton Ates, who finished with 16 kills and five blocks. Beth Hood had nine kills and two blocks, Megan Harris added eight kills, and Ronnie Fountain dished out 39 assists to go with five kills and a pair of blocks.
The combination of Fountain and Ates carried Whitehouse to wins in Games 3 and 4. Ates hammered home 13 of her 16 kills, while Fountain registered 26 of her 39 assists in the two Whitehouse wins.
"I think we picked up our communication and our urgency," Nordin said. "We kinda started off slow those first two games, and I think it took us a little while to get warmed up."
Whitehouse begins District 16-5A play Friday at home against Nacogdoches.
"There's been improvement in the girls all throughout the season," Nordin said. "I'm excited about where we're at going into district, but I still think there are areas that we still need to work on. All of this is practice for those nights."
In the nightcap, Spring Hill made quick work of All Saints.
Hollas once again led the way for the Lady Panthers with 14 kills and 14 assists. Brown added nine kills, Hampton had six kills and four blocks, Collier chipped in with six kills, and McCain finished the match with 11 assists.
All Saints (8-13), following a series of unforced errors that led to its undoing in the first and second games, made Game 3 interesting by cutting the Spring Hill lead to 21-20. The Lady Panthers scored four of the set's next five points, but All Saints coach Bryan Winegeart saw improvement.
"The reason why I scheduled this game tonight with Spring Hill is because we have our first district game Thursday," he said. "And I think it's important that we see tough competition, especially when we've got to take care of the ball on our side because they're making us. I think we got a lot out of tonight, and we'll be ready to show up on Thursday."
Ferrell Clyde paced All Saints with 12 kills and three blocks. Hannah Waits had five kills and two blocks, Sydney Barrett chipped in with three kills, and the duo of Frances Hackney and Mary-Claire Luzetti combined for 18 assists.
The Lady Trojans (8-13) begin district play at Frisco Legacy Christian on Thursday.
"I feel really good," Winegeart said. "We probably had the toughest (non-district) that we've ever scheduled at All Saints, and I have a pretty young group. So, I've been asking a lot of them. Our record doesn't show it, but we've improved immensely from the beginning of the season. I'm excited to start district and to see if all this hard work actually pays off."
Spring Hill has just one match remaining until district play begins Sept. 16. The Panthers return to action next Tuesday at home against White Oak.
"The kids are tired," Brundrett said. "I have enough notes that could last us the rest of the season. But take one certain area, break it down, and get it right. Then, move to the next area and get it right, so that we do prepare for our district play and moving into the playoffs."