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Strong Defensive Play At the Net Sends Tyler Lee Past New Diana in Teams’ Final Tune-Up Before District

Tyler Lee’s Dajah Thomas and New Diana’s Madison Sampson fight it out at the next during their match Tuesday night in Tyler. (© Christopher R. Vinn/

TYLER — The Tyler Lee Lady Raiders dominated at the net to take a 25-18, 19-25, 25-11, 25-14 victory over New Diana on Tuesday at Lee Varsity Gym in the two teams’ final tune-up before district play begins.

Lee (18-7), which opens 12-5A action against Longview on Friday, registered 18 blocks on defense and used a balanced scoring attack to head into league play on a positive note.

Tyler Lee’s Nicole Trpkosh sets the ball during the Lady Raiders’ match against New Diana on Tuesday night in Tyler. (© Christopher R. Vinn/

“Except for the second game I thought they did a good job,” said Lady Raiders coach Melissa Lee. “We controlled the game and did what we’re capable of doing. The first game we didn’t block a lot, but for sure the third and fourth game we started blocking. It also gave us more momentum and helped us out a lot.”

Claire Himes led Lee 14 kills, six blocks, one assists and two aces. Coach Lee said Himes had just recently switched to middle blocker.

“She’s playing a new position because my middle’s out,” she said. “I think she did a great job of coming in and playing middle; she had to play last weekend in our tournament. She’s versatile, she can go either way and she did a great job for us.”

Dajah Thomas added 12 kills and five blocks for Lee, which also got strong performances from Caroline Lynch, who had six kills and four blocks and the duo of Jamie Mills and Emily Starr that had six kills and one block apiece.

New Diana’s Riley Holcomb bumps the ball during the Lady Eagles’ match at Tyler Lee on Tuesday night. (© Christopher R. Vinn/

Nicole Trpkosh dished out 23 assists, while Genesis Borens added 14 assists and three aces.

New Diana (16-8), which begins District 17-2A play Friday at No. 8 White Oak, was led by Madison Sampson’s eight kills and 18 assists. Christy Hjorth added eight kills and two blocks, Bailee Birdsong had seven kills, two blocks, an assist and two aces and Paige Hill contributed three kills, two blocks and two aces.

Lee had little trouble in the match’s opening game, but quickly fell behind 6-1 and later 18-8 in Game 2. The Lady Raiders closed the gap to 21-17 with a block and kill from Thomas, but New Diana finished strong to even the match.

The Lady Raiders jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the third game, and after New Diana cut the deficit to 15-10, scored 10 of the next 11 points to take a 2-1 lead in the match. After Lee opened Game 4 with a 9-1 run, New Diana got within six points before the Lady Raiders took control by scoring eight of the next nine points.

“We didn’t give away 19 points; we gave away seven the next game,” Lee said of the difference between Game 2 and the rest of the match. “Unforced errors are what makes the difference. We start district Friday, we just need to stop giving away so many points.”

Tyler Lee’s Jamesha Hutton (left) and Taylor Winchester celebrate a point against New Diana during their match Tuesday in Tyler. (© Christopher R. Vinn/

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