Pine Tree Closes Non-District With Four-Set Win Against John Tyler
TYLER -- Pine Tree finished its non-district schedule above .500 Tuesday with a 25-13, 25-21, 14-25, 25-14 win at John Tyler.
Not too bad for a team that entered the season with big questions to answer after losing a strong senior class.
"We've got a lot of young players," Lady Pirates head coach Carolee Musick said. "We've been scrambling to try to get them feeling comfortable on the court and getting their confidence up. We start district on Friday. This team had already beaten us once this year, so it was was a very good win for us. I was proud of the girls. Hopefully, this will give us some momentum going into district."
The victory elevated Pine Tree's overall record to 9-8. The Lady Lions had defeated the team in two straight sets during the Tyler I.S.D Tournament's pool play phase.
John Tyler closed its own non-district slate with a 7-13 record. It played arguably the toughest competition of any large school within East Texas.
Musick's club wasted little time in getting the upper hand. It gained a 14-7 lead in the first set thanks in large part to its front court.
Alexis Wiley, a junior, scored the Lady Pirates' first four points in the stretch and Devin Jimmerson, another junior, closed the doubling-up with two straight kills and then a block.
The lead grew to 21-10 at its worst as the Lady Lions chipped in nine various misplays and net violations.
But Pine Tree's clean start -- it committed eight errors through the entire 38-point first set -- gave way to choppy performances in the middle two frames.
The team made 14 errors in a 25-21 win in the second set and 10 more in the third set, a 25-14 loss.
John Tyler's third set was by far its best, however. The Lady Lions earned 15 points with five of its scores coming on serves.
Pine Tree only committed a match-best six errors in the decisive fourth set and opened on a 12-6 run.
After John Tyler pushed the score back to 13-9, senior setter Hannah Dunn held serve for six straight points before misfiring into the net. With two aces in the process, Dunn's serving session was the best of the entire match.
The Lady Lions committed three errors as part of the Lady Pirates' final five points, including a long serve on the match point.
"We have not bounced back several times this year," Musick said. "To see them bounce back made me proud. It's a step forward for us. For sure."
Wiley paced the team with 10 kills and three blocks. Dunn recorded eight assists and was followed closely by fellow setter Taylor Assenheimer's seven.
Chelsea Chadwick and Dunn tied for the lead in aces with two apiece. Chadwick also recorded more than 20 digs in the match.
Shakendra Tilley served up a match-best three aces for John Tyler. Dazmonique Johnson led the Lady Lions with six kills while Kandice Jackson had the team's best overall offensive night with seven assists in addition to three kills and an ace.
Pine Tree now turns its attention to the brutal District 15-5A. It visits Greenville on Friday and very strong Texas High, Hallsville, Mount Pleasant and Longview teams await in sequential order afterward.
John Tyler will begin District 16-5A play Friday on the road at Jacksonville.
"There is no weak team in our district," Musick said. "All of the teams are good. Some of them are really good. We've got to continue to get better as we progress through district and try to get ready for the playoffs hopefully."