Pine Tree’s Hannah Dunn Leads The Way In Four-Set Win Against Tyler Lee
LONGVIEW -- Pine Tree and Tyler Lee began the season in similar situations. Both proud East Texas volleyball programs have inexperienced players to build up during the non-district phase of their schedules.
The Lady Pirates showed they're just a bit ahead of the Lady Raiders with a 25-23, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23 win Tuesday at the Pirate Center.
"We're about 50/50 right now," Pine Tree head coach Carolee Musick said. "I have seven new players to my varsity team so, early on, we're trying to get our confidence up. Every little step you can make toward the them getting confidence is going to put us in the right direction. Today was a good day for that."
Nothing came easy in the four-set victory.
The Lady Pirates (4-3) were tied with Lee (3-5) at the midway point in two of the sets and trailed at times in all four sets. Musick's squad rallied from deficits of two points, four points and three points in the three sets it won.
Unearned points given up plagued both teams.
Of the 100 points Pine Tree scored, Lee gave up 46 of them on various errors.
The Lady Pirates surrendered 48 of Lee's 94 points scored in the match on their own possessions. That was 51 percent of the Lady Raiders' scoring total.
"We are giving up a lot of unearned points right now, but I believe that to be in part due to a lack of confidence in themselves," Musick said. "I'm hoping that with pulling this game out it'll be a little bit less and a little bit less every time we take the floor."
Of course, winning makes everything better.
Tyler Independent School District pulled off a big move in March, scoring Tyler Junior College head coach Ronda Shirley to replace former Lee coach Melissa Lee. The college-caliber leader wasn't overly pleased with her new team's performance.
"Rebuilding is exactly it," Shirley said. "We are having to start from ground level. It's a difference for them, and I will say that they are trying as hard as they can, but it's everything we have to work on. They don't have the fundamental skills down that they should have, I feel like, by this time. There's not a pride factor that's instilled enough for me. There's not a hitting the court with the mentality that we are going to earn some wins.
"Those are all things that I'm changing. They're trying hard. It's just going to be a process. But I feel like I have great kids and that it's going to click at some time."
Lee rallied from a 13-10 deficit for a 14-14 tie in the first set. That's when senior Pine Tree setters Hannah Dunn and Taylor Assenheimer -- both still fairly new to the primary rotation -- began to shine.
Dunn led the way to a 25-23 opening win with two aces and four assists after the team broke the tie. She finished the match with a team-best 17 assists while adding a third ace and one kill.
Assenheimer recorded three assists in the same span en route to 12 through the match.
It was more of the same in the second set with nine combined assists from the two setters. Junior Na'Keyia Fisher led scorers with two aces and two of the team's 11 kills while Lee chipped in 12 errors.
The Lady Raiders were tied or trailed through most of the third set, but they broke a 22-22 deadlock with a block and then a kill from junior De'Ja Hamilton before Pine Tree sealed it with a scoring attempt that sailed beyond the back line.
Dunn and Assenheimer combined for nine more assists in the winning frame. Dunn added two points via an ace and a kill.
Lee's April Brown, a sophomore, led all scorers with 14 points. Junior Alexis Wiley scored a team-best 10 points for Pine Tree.
The Lady Raiders will try to avenge the loss at 6:30 p.m Thursday against Whitehouse as part of a tri-match with host team Texas High in Texarkana. Pine Tree will host Nacogdoches at 7 p.m. Friday.
"We like what we've seen through the first seven games," Musick said. "Would I want to win every one? Of course I would. But I have to believe in the process of learning how to be a championship team. That's what we're trying to do right now."