White Oak Edges Tyler Lee in Five Sets
WHITE OAK -- Tyler Lee is the only Class 6A school in about a 100 mile radius, so its volleyball team sometimes has to get creative with its non-district schedule. Rather than work out a deal with a Metroplex high school for the season-opener Tuesday, the Lady Raiders took a short trip to face the prestigious Class 3A White Oak program.
The Ladynecks escaped with a two-point win in the fifth set for 21-25, 25-15, 25-13, 15-25, 16-14 win.
"Robert E. Lee is always a great team," White Oak head coach Nicole Thorn said. "They're big and they're going to exploit weaknesses other teams may not exploit. For us to play a tough (non-district) schedule is only going to help us in the fall."
Lee (0-1) will likely get the opportunity for a rematch with White Oak (1-0). Perhaps more than one.
Both programs are slated to play in the Tyler Invitational Volleyball Tournament and White Oak's Shirley Atkins Tournament in the next few weeks.
"We don't have very long," Lee of the Lady Raiders said. "We have eight teams in our district and only a few preseason games and a couple of early tournaments. We're trying to get everyone ready and used to the setters and getting focused on our offense. Our defense is already improved from where it was last year. I'm really proud of how they played."
The decisive set was tied at 14 points.
White Oak pulled out the two points it needed for the win with a kill from junior Kayla McCay and senior Taylor Tramel's spike off of Lady Raider libero Taylor Winchester.
Both teams had strong sets of players in the front court.
White Oak's Cayman Sutton, a junior, and Tramel combined for 16 points. Sutton set up Tramel six times and led the team with 12 assists.
"We've been on the same team since she was a freshman and I was a sophomore," Tramel said. "We've become really close. I guess we kind of have the same personality and understand each other. We work together really well."
Lee had a taller team and its front helped push the Ladynecks to the brink.
Genesis Borens, a senior returning from the all-district 12-5A team, recorded 10 assists. She also scored on two kills and aced a serve.
"She gets excited and that excites everyone else," Lee said. "That excitement is contagious. It's good if everybody does it, but she's the most visible."
The two sides were pleased with parts of their performances. Both squads faced early season adversity.
Tied at 14 points in the first set, Lee used a 9-2 run to secure an early lead. The Ladynecks opened the second set on a 14-5 run of their own.
The Lady Raiders got roughed up in the third set, 25-13, and rallied for a 25-15 fourth set win to force the decisive race to 15 points.
"The fifth game, we try to not think of it as the first 15 but the first to five," Thorn said. "It's three mini games to five points. If we can do that and win those points with our serving and passing, we feel pretty confident the rest will take care of itself. Our kids did a great job of serving and passing in Game 5."
White Oak will visit Tyler All Saints on Thursday. Lee also will be in action that day against Nacogdoches at Longview's Lady Lobo Tournament.