Tyler Lee Completes Sweep of Pine Tree
TYLER -- Rhiannon Heldman connected with the ball and sent it hurtling toward the ground with tremendous force.
Pine Tree dove to save it, but was too late. The Pirates shook their opponents' hands, packed their bags and headed back to the bus for Longview.
Heldman's kill was the exclamation point on a dominant third set for the Lady Raiders. After winning the first couple of sets with relative ease, Tyler Lee scored the first nine points of the third and final set to remove all doubt. It won sets by scores of 25-20, 25-18 and 25-12 in a sweep.
Coach Kristen Porter said she emphasized finishing strong in the break between the second and third sets.
"That was the discussion in the huddle," she said. "We need to learn how to finish a match. I wish we could carry that focus into Game 1, but with this team, we have a couple of new players and great senior leadership. But we have some freshmen and sophomores that are getting valuable game time out there. Just getting them to understand how to finish through an entire match is what we're working on."
Bailey Blain led the Lady Raiders with nine kills, while Macy Bhem finished with seven. Aliyah Shirley led the way with 19 assists and Anna Stone had 13 digs.
Lee was tied at four with Pine Tree to start the first set before an 8-2 run allowed the Lady Raiders to pull ahead. From there, things were smooth as the momentum carried into the second set.
Lee displayed its dominance to start off the third set, scoring nine straight before Pine Tree answered. he Lady Raiders led by as much as 14 in the set, but a late Pine Tree run fueled by Jacayla Ingram allowed the Pirates to soften the blow.
Ingram led the Lady Pirates with seven kills.
The victory improved Lee to 4-7, while Pine Tree dropped to 2-6. Porter said though the team is always glad when it wins, there is work to be done.
"We're happy for the win," she said. "Our team did a good job in spots, but the consistency is still lacking for us. We're still going through preseason errors. Hopefully we can level out as we continue on. There were some bright spots, but definitely some things we need to work on."
Tyler Lee will next face Whitehoue and Texas High starting at 5 p.m. Thursday. Pine Tree will hope to bounce back when it hosts Quitman at 4:30 p.m. Friday.