Whitehouse Rallies Past Tyler Lee In Five + Knocks Off Texas High In Dual Match
TYLER -- Following a fairly simple four-game win over Texas High, Whitehouse found itself in trouble midway through Thursday's night tri-match finale against hosting Tyler Lee.
With the match even at a set apiece, Whitehouse squandered an 18-8 lead to put Lee one set away from earning victory. But the LadyCats rallied to even things up in the fourth game, before outlasting Lee in a Game 5 thriller.
It all added up to a 17-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-15, 15-13 victory for Whitehouse (7-5), which swept its second dual match in as many weeks.
"You have to fight, and never give up," said Whitehouse coach Britney Nordin after her team's defeat of Lee. "I think both teams did that very well, and that's what volleyball's all about. We play for these games, we play for these moments. It was fun to see them fight this early in the season."
Senior Ashton Ates was an unstoppable force throughout the match, finishing with 24 kills to go along with a pair of blocks and two aces. Ates and setter Ronnie Fountain, who recorded 43 assists and three kills, worked exceptionally well in tandem.
"Her and Ronnie really connected tonight," Nordin said. "They've connected well in previous games, but in that game, you could really tell. No matter what the pass was, our setter was able to get it to her and she was able to do something aggressive with it. She really stepped up big for us in that department."
Kelly Keller added 11 kills, Megan Harris provided seven kills, three blocks and three aces, and Beth Hood recorded five kills and five blocks in the winning effort.
Lee, which entered Thursday's night action on a seven-match winning streak in 15 consecutive sets, looked as if it were dead in the water after falling behind 18-8 in the third game.
But the Lady Raiders went on a roll by winning 15 of the game's next 17 points for a 23-20 lead. Junior Ryan Rousseau, called up from the junior varsity before the match after starter Deja Hamilton injured her knee in the Lady Raiders' loss to Texas High earlier in the day, recorded four kills during the pivotal stretch.
"I think they came back and fought hard," Lady Raiders coach Melissa Lee said of her team's effort in the third set. "We were missing one of our starters, but I think Ryan Rousseau stepped up and did an outstanding job."
Whitehouse responded with a 4-0 run to go back in front 24-23, by thanks to a kill from Rousseau and two kills from Caroline Lynch, Lee was able to complete the comeback and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The LadyCats didn't allow the blown lead to affect them. A 9-1 run in Game 4 broke open a tight game, giving Whitehouse a comfortable 16-9 lead.
In the decisive fifth game, the Lady Raiders moved ahead 10-7 and led 13-12 before Whitehouse won the next three points on a kill by libero Amanda Dimon and back-to-back kills from Ates.
"It's nice to see the girls bounce back mentally from something like that," Nordin said.
Rousseau led Lee with 13 kills, while Claire Himes finished with 12. Lynch and Emily Starr combined on 13 kills, Taylor Winchester and Jamesha Hutton teamed up for 47 digs, while the setting duo of Geneis Borens and Alexa Winfrey totaled 41 assists.
Ates led Whitehouse's 25-10, 16-25, 25-13, 25-20 defeat of Texas High with 19 kills and two blocks. Harris added eight kills, two blocks and three aces, Keller had eight kills and a pair of aces, and Fountain dished out 29 assists to go with two kills.
"We stepped up and got a few points early on, and just kinda started that rhythm," Nordin said of her team's win over Texas High. "I think it helped, too, being fresh in that first game. We had the rhythm and were able to keep the rhythm."
Chanell Hayes led Texas High (5-4) with 14 kills, while Tytianna Jones added 10. Jalissa Trotter finished with 20 assists and six kills.
Texas High took all of the suspense out of Tyler Lee's consecutive win streak, rolling to a 25-19, 25-17, 25-18 sweep in the opener of the tri-match.
"We came out flat," Coach Lee said of her team's performance. "That was not the same team we had (against Whitehouse). The first team was not the team that's been playing all season."
Hayes sparked the Lady Tigers with 17 kills and three blocks, while Trotter finished the match with seven kills, 21 assists and three aces. Kristin McDuffie chipped in with seven kills as well.
Lynch led Tyler Lee in defeat with seven kills. Starr added five kills, Hutton had four kills and seven digs, Winchester contributed 11 digs, and the duo of Borens and Winfrey dished out 19 assists.
Whitehouse's season resumes Tuesday at home against Longview, Texas High participates in the Wills Point Tournament this weekend, while Lee travels to Hallsville on Tuesday night.
"Our district's going to be like this, Hallsville is going to be like this," Lee said. "We're just going to have to start stepping up when facing some of these teams. Everybody's not gonna lay down and make mistakes. We've got to work harder to earn our points instead of waiting on someone else to make a mistake."