The Sulphur Springs varsity volleyball showed improvement, but still were unable to taste victory against No. 8 state-ranked Paris North Lamar.
In Tuesday varsity volleyball play, the Lady Cats got better and closer with each game. North Lamar won by scores of 25-17, 25-19 and 25-23.
“We showed considerable improvement from last week when we played them,” said Allison Irvin, Sulphur Springs head volleyball coach. “ North Lamar has a great program, a lot of size and very aggressive. We came into the game not focused on the big goal of getting a win but on achieving smaller goals as a team. I know if we start taking care of the little details, the big picture will come as well. We are within reach of taking sets from North Lamar. I told the girls that they have all done every skill just as well as North Lamar, the only difference is that they are more consistent than us. We have to keep working on consistency, communication and discipline on the court.”
Desi Debase and Sarah Womack led the Lady Cats with four kills each. Jessye Castro had three kills, five assists and two solos. Debase also had seven digs and two solos. Libero Sidney Dietze added seven digs. Katie Barnett and Sarah Bennett had six digs each, Sharetta Hill had three assists.
North Lamar had 20 kills in the game, with Bailey Foy and Ashleigh McFatridge had five apiece.
The win moved the Pantherettes record to 7-1 for the year with Sulphur Springs dropping to 2-6 in varsity play.
In the first set, the teams exchanged points for a while with North Lamar holding an early 6-3 lead. Later it was consistent serving by Haley Porter of North Lamar which allowed the team to score six consecutive points and pull out to a 14-7 lead. Womack had a kill from the side for a bright spot for the home team. But soon North Lamar had another scoring run using Ashley White serves to bolt ahead to 18-8, a 10-point lead, thanks to strong net play. Down the stretch, Mieke Van Benthem and Womack turned in kills, but the Lady Cats lost by a 25-17 score.
The set game saw the Lady Cats move closer to play dead even with the No. 8 Pantherettes. Three times in the early going the score was tied. The squad took advantage of several errant hits by the Lady Cats as the visitors edged ahead 9-7. Sulphur Springs stayed within striking distance at 14-12 following a kill by Hill. Porter served for four key points late and the Panthers won by a 25-19 final.
The final set was a nail-biter which took 24 minutes to complete as the tension built the longer the two teams were on the floor.
Teams traded points back-and-forth like clockwork, four times the game was tie as neither squad was able to pull away.
Kayla Igleheart found the serving touch for North Lamar as the visitors broke a 9-all tie and scored several points in a row thanks to active net play. The score went to 13-10 when Bailey Jones hammered home a kill that seemed to give North Lamar momentum.
The Lady Cats stayed close at 16-14. Brittany Nichols had a service ace to give North Lamar a point.
Sulphur Springs was down 19-16, then tallied three of the next four points to pull with a point, 20-19. Debase had some key service points. Castro had a kill and a key block as the score was tied at 23-all.
It was the Lady Cats missed a chance for a point when an errant serve into the net gave the edge to North Lamar, 24-23. Porter closed out the game with a nice serve, backed up by a kill from Porter as the visitors won 25-23 to sweep the match in varsity play.
In junior varsity action, North Lamar won by scores of 25-21, 25-22 according to Sulphur Springs coach David Carrillo.
“We were close, but not consistent enough,” Carrillo said. “North Lamar is a very good team.”
The lone win of the night for Sulphur Springs came by the freshmen team. The Lady Cats lost the first game 14-25, then won 25-23, before losing the third contest, 18-25.
Coach Jerrod Hammack said, “We did more play well, we had lots of unforced errors. We ran together and let some shot drop in between players. We just made too many mistakes against a team as good as North Lamar. We have to learn to play better together. The girls played hard,” Hammack said. “We had a good effort.”
Next up - the JV and ninth are idle until Aug. 26.
The Lady Cat varsity will play in the Wills Point tournament Friday and Saturday.
“I am looking forward to this weekend when we compete in the Wills Point Tournament,” Irvin said. “We play at 2, 5, and 6 p.m. against Crandall, Lone Oak and Mineola.
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