WHITEHOUSE -- The Whitehouse LadyCats began the new season with consecutive sweeps of New Diana and Troup during Tuesday night's tri-match at Wildcat Arena.

Whitehouse started the day with a 25-18, 25-19, 25-13 victory over New Diana, and ended the night with a 25-9, 25-15, 25-9 domination of Troup.

"I have a lot of returners, so that gives us higher expectations than what we had starting off last year," said Whitehouse coach Britney Nordin. "I'm proud to say we haven't lost much from year to year. They're starting off strong."

There were several standouts for Whitehouse (2-0), including senior setter Ronnie Fountain, who combined for 41 assists and nine kills on the evening.

"We ran a 5-1 last year, and with this being her second year in a 5-1, she's really stepped up a lot and doing a great job running our offense -- spreading the ball around and getting to where she needs to go. I really liked what I saw from her," Nordin said of Fountain.

The offensive attack was led by a trio of LadyCats -- Ashton Ates, Megan Harris and Beth Hood. Ates tallied a combined 15 kills and 13 blocks in the two matches, while Harris provided eight kills and two blocks and Hood finished with 11 kills and 11 blocks.

"I knew with Ashton and Megan being returners that I could have those expectations with them, but it's nice to see them begin the season being so consistent and aggressive with what they're doing," Nordin said. "It's good to see that they're already connecting with the setter, especially Beth. She was on varsity last year but this is her first starting position, and it was nice seeing her connect with the setter."

Bailee Birdsong led New Diana in defeat with five kills. Danielle Smith had four kills, Natalie Leslie added three kills and five assists and Katie Easley registered three kills and two blocks.

Whitehouse raced out to a 12-4 lead in the first set against New Diana, and after the Lady Eagles rallied to cut the deficit to a point, Whitehouse responded by winning five of the game's next seven points to regain control.

In Game 2, Whitehouse again got off to a hot start with an 8-2 lead. New Diana eventually fought back to even the game at 11-11, and the set stayed close until four consecutive points pushed the LadyCats' lead to 23-17.

Whitehouse broke open a close third game by reeling off five straight points to build an 18-11 advantage, and then finished off New Diana by tallying six consecutive points.

The LadyCats' season continues Friday and Saturday at the Duncanville tournament.

"There's always things that we need to work on," Nordin said. "We've been playing for a little over a week, so there are definitely things. But the longer we play together and build team chemistry (we'll continue to improve)."

 

New Diana Outlasts Troup In Five

New Diana responded to the loss to Whitehouse with a come-from-behind five-game win over future district foe Troup, 25-17, 22-25, 25-27, 25-14, 15-13.

The Lady Eagles (1-1) looked defeated after dropping Games 2 and 3, but answered with a relatively easy win in the fourth set and a hard-fought victory in the clinching match.

"I'm happy to get out of here with a win, especially after (the Whitehouse match)," said New Diana coach Andrew Harbison. 'We started off good in the first set, and it looked like we were just going to fold and lose energy. But I'm grateful to leave with a win, battling back in five."

Birdsong sparked New Diana's victory with 15 kills to go along with a pair of aces. Smith added seven kills, Baylee Leach provided a team-high 13 assists and three aces, while Easley came through with four kills.

Josee Ross led Troup (0-2) in the losing effort with a match-high 16 kills and two blocks. Paeton Nolan added six kills and three aces, Caitlyn Vickers and Makayla Krueger combined on nine kills and Lana Ledford finished with eight assists and two aces.

Troup held a 24-18 lead in Game 3, but New Diana stormed ahead by scoring the set's next seven points for a 25-24 advantage. A service error and consecutive kills by Ross swung the game in Troup's favor, but New Diana had found new life.

"Volleyball's a game of momentum and I think that was the point where we kind of rallied behind (each other), and started performing and executing a little bit better," Harbison said.

New Diana scored the first five points in the fourth set and never looked back, then built a seemingly comfortable 14-9 lead on Troup in the decisive fifth game. But Troup fought back to get within a point before Birdsong ended the match with her 15th kill.

Vickers led Troup in its three-game loss to Whitehouse with three kills. Tonesha Kincade added two kills, Nolan had three blocks and Ledford finished with three assists.

New Diana returns to the court Thursday at Marshall, while Troup takes part in the Overton tournament this weekend.