Setter Molly Harris Leads Whitehouse Volleyball Past Spring Hill
LONGVIEW -- Molly Harris recorded 21 assists and at least a point in most other major offensive categories to guide Whitehouse past Spring Hill in a hard fought, albeit swift, 25-16, 25-21, 25-22 win Tuesday.
Harris, a rare senior on the Lady Wildcats' roster, earned three blocks and an ace to play a hand in a set's worth of points in the three-set victory.
"As a setter you've got to be everywhere and run the offense," Whitehouse head coach Britney Nordin said. "She does a great job doing that. Finding hitters even if we're out of the system and just connecting with our hitters. She does a great job seeing it and getting the ball where it's needed."
Aside from Harris, Spring Hill (10-13) was its own obstacle.
The Lady Panthers, a Class 4A program, gave away 36 of the 75 points the Lady Wildcats (15-12) needed to win the match on various errors. That was 48 percent of Whitehouse's scoring.
Nordin's Class 5A club played a little more sound in the serving game, its transition game from defense to offense and was much more sound defensively overall. It gave up 28 of Spring Hill's 59 points in the match -- 47.6 percent of the Lady Panthers' points -- yet committed eight less mistakes in total.
Junior hitters Grace Hendricks and Sydney Malmstrom led Whitehouse in scoring with nine points apiece. Hendricks aced a match-best four serves, recorded four kills and one block while Malmstrom put up a team-best six kills and match-best three blocks.
Non-seniors scored 29 of the winning side's 39 earned points.
"This team is a really young team," Nordin said. I'm having fun learning about them individually and seeing how they respond. What gets them fired up about things? What gets them focussed? It's been fun seeing them and trying to figure out what's going to work and get this team to gel for district."
Hard hitting Spring Hill middle blocker Payton White scored a match-best 11 points on eight kills, two blocks and an aced serve.
The Lady Panthers held at least one small lead in each of the three sets.
Trailing 9-6, Whitehouse took control of the first frame on a 17-5 run. It was the Lady Wildcats' most lopsided set win, aided by 12 Spring Hill errors.
Spring Hill led the second set as late as 10-9, but fell on the wrong end of a 16-11 elongated run. Hendricks spearheaded the run with three straight aces.
Whitehouse trailed 5-4 and 6-5 in the third set and was tied, 11-11, before taking control. A 7-2 run featuring two Spring Hill errors and five assists from Harris was the turning point.
Avery Osburg made it interesting late by nailing back-to-back serves to make the third set a 23-22 contest, but Spring Hill hit the net on its next spike attempt to tie the game before Harris fed Malmstrom for the game winning kill.
Whitehouse now has a 5-2 record in September.
The team went 4-2 at the White Oak Tournament last week with good wins against Pine Tree and Tyler Lee, and it split a pair of games against Gilmer. Beckville, a small school volleyball power, served as the other loss in White Oak.
Whitehouse will be idle Friday and hosts Tyler All Saints next Tuesday ahead of its non-district finale against Pleasant Grove on Sept. 16.
Spring Hill will travel Friday to Canton for its final non-district game and begins District 15-4A competition next Tuesday.
"We're off the White Oak Tournament and got a lot of good games in there," Nordin said. "It was nice to see them focussed in on this match and see where we've improved. We've still got work to do before district starts, but this was a good match for us."