Whitehouse Storms Back for Five-Game Victory Against New Diana
WHITEHOUSE -- Class 2A New Diana pushed Class 4A Whitehouse to the brink of a sweep in the nightcap of Monday's volleyball tri-match, but the LadyCats pushed back.
Fulani Petties dominated with 21 kills and four blocks as Whitehouse clawed back for a five-game win, beating New Diana 22-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23, 16-14 at Wildcat Gymnasium. The victory was the second of the evening for Whitehouse, which swept Pittsburg 25-10, 25-10, 25-10 behind Petties' 12 kills and two blocks in the opening match.
"She is a good, clutch player. She's intense. What she does is incredible," said Whitehouse coach Britney Nordin. "It took us a while to get the rhythm to get it to her. Once we got the defense rolling, the attackers got used to what they were looking at and it started to go a little bit better.
"You play volleyball three out of five for a reason. Those girls have heart, so much heart. I knew they weren't going to back down that easy. You really have to erase those old games, learn from them, and move on."
That's exactly what Whitehouse (2-0) did after dropping two close games to start the match as New Diana's Courtney Rogers and Cheyenne Spell combined for 16 kills. But Whitehouse rallied from a 5-1 Game 3 deficit and led by as many as nine, 22-13, before winning the set by seven. Whitehouse again came from behind in Game 4, trailing by three twice late, then ending the game on a 5-1 run.
New Diana (1-1) led for the first 26 points of Game 5. A Whitehouse service error gave the Lady Eagles match point at 14-12, but they couldn't finish the job. Blocks from Angela Knight and Petties fueled a 4-0 run that closed the match, 16-14.
"You always worry about unforced errors. I think we got a lesson tonight on how important it is to keep those to a minimum, and when you have somebody down, put them away," said New Diana coach Lisa Rockhill. "We had multiple opportunities to put them away and just didn't nail that coffin shut.
"For such a young team that's having to regroup with the loss of a lot of height and power at the net from last year, I was proud of them. They showed me they can come back, dig in, and work together as a team."
Knight had 26 assists, two blocks, and two aces, while Ashton Ates had four kills. Rogers had a match-high 25 kills, and Spell had 10 kills and three aces. New Diana's Madison Sampson had a match-high 34 assists.
Nordin said playing a five-game match on the season's first night will help the LadyCats.
"I wanted a team to push us, and you could see us adjusting, progressing," Nordin said. "We have a pretty young team, and to make those adjustments so quick, I'm impressed. I saw a lot of things I wasn't necessarily anticipating until later on in the season. I'm proud of them."
Whitehouse plays in this weekend's Carthage Tournament, while New Diana travels to the Pleasant Grove Tournament.
Whitehouse, New Diana sweep Pittsburg
Whitehouse started Monday's tri-match with a 25-10, 25-10, 25-10 sweep of Pittsburg behind Fulani Petties' 12 kills and two blocks and Angela Knight's three kills, 14 assists, and two aces. Autumn Crymes added four kills, and Ashton Ates had three.
Meagan Peters led Pittsburg (0-2) with three kills, one block, and one ace.
New Diana's Courtney Rogers had six kills in the Lady Eagles' 25-13, 25-8, 25-6 sweep of Pittsburg in Monday night's second match. Jessica Hampton contributed five kills, while Madison Sampson had 15 assists. Cheyenne Spell added four kills and five aces.