Splits All Around in Tri-Match at Lindale
LINDALE – Nobody came away empty Tuesday.
Lindale, Carthage and Quitman met at Lindale for a tri-match, and each team gained a victory. Lindale and Quitman closed the evening as the bleachers opened and fans began to pack the arena for the final game, which started just after 8 p.m.
Quitman, which fell to Carthage in the match prior, wasted no time bouncing back, as it swept host Lindale in three tightly contested sets.
Coach Ashlee Lingo said the win was just what her squad needed after a tough weekend in the Tyler tournament.
“Coming off of that weekend and dealing with a little bit of that, it’s good for us to come back and play two very tough teams and walk away with one,” she said. “Of course we would have liked 2-0, but coming out in one of those means a lot. These guys have worked really hard, so it’s really exciting.”
After narrowly winning the first two sets 25-23 and 30-28, Quitman (11-4) started off sluggish in the third. Lindale (9-14) went up as much as 16-9, and led 18-14 when Quitman started to mount a comeback. Four straight scores, culminated with a powerful kill from Kaci Raley, evened the set.
It was back and forth the rest of the way, the score knotted at 24 late in the match. Again, Raley stepped up to deliver another score and the Lady Bulldogs went on to win the set, 26-24.
In a sport where momentum plays a huge factor, the runs put together by Quitman to tie the match proved crucial in the outcome.
“That’s something we talk about a lot,” Lingo said. “That’s something we have struggled with in the past. I think that’s the best I’ve seen us do. I’m excited to see us growing in that aspect.”
Raley and teammate Molly Tanner played big roles in the win, combining for 21 kills and four blocks.
“They’re both seniors and have been with me since they were freshmen,” Lingo said. “They mean a lot to me. It’s really great to see them blooming right now.”
Carthage 3, Quitman 1
Before Quitman could taste victory, it had to suffer defeat.
In a battle of the Lady Bulldogs, Carthage came out the victor. Although things started out well for Quitman and it won the first set, Carthage would take over the rest of the way.
The first three sets were all fairly close, but Carthage (11-6) found a new level in the final match. Nine unanswered points for Carthage to make the score 22-13 gave it the momentum to push through to the victory.
Coach Leven Barker said it was the sort of match he hopes to see from his team every game. He said the team got progressively better after falling to Lindale in the opening match.
“That’s exactly what we’re looking for,” he said. “We’re just looking for consistency. I think out of Lindale’s first 10 points, eight of them were our errors. We minimize our errors, we play pretty well. When we move all over the gym, we don’t. I give them praise for that because they hung in on a night when they knew they weren’t playing well. If you get a split between two teams like that, you feel pretty good.”
Mattison Doffitt was huge down the stretch, coming up with several key blocks. Barker said it is expected out of his star player. The play of DeDe Pope might have been what pushed Carthage over the top. Although small in stature, she played well above her size to come up with kills and put her team in position to win.
“For 5-7, she plays like a 6-footer,” Barker said. “When she gets her game going, she jumps up and hangs in the air, it’s tough to stop. We like her.”
Lindale 3, Carthage 2
Lindale got its victory out of the way early.
In perhaps the closest match of the day, the Lady Eagles won 15-11 in the final set to take down Carthage. Although Carthage errors were aplenty in this match, Lindale also made the most of its opportunities.
When the score was 12-11 in the final match, the Eagles scored three straight to secure the win. A block from Hannah Knox and Brina Kuslak followed by a serve from Harleigh Thurman capped things off.
Linda will get back to work quickly with a 4:30 p.m. match against Lufkin on Friday. Carthage's next match is Sept. 5 against Hallsville.
Quitman's next test is a tournament at White Oak.