Lady Cats win season opener
From Staff Reports

August 12, 2004 - Down two games to none in their first volleyball match of the season, the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats rallied to win the next three games to post a season-opening win over Commerce.

Behind fine all-around games from junior Tara Gibby and seniors Casey Carper and Christina Patchen, the Lady Cats rallied to win the final three games by scores of 25-12, 25-15, 15-8, after losing the first two games, 19-25, 24-26.

"We started slowly, but by the middle of game two, we picked up the intensity," said SSHS head coach John McCullough, who picked up his first varsity volleyball victory in the process. "From that point on, the girls made some great plays, good enough to win."

Gibby led the team in scoring with 18 points by getting in 24-of-25 serves in, including two aces. She also had a team-high six kills to go with 2 1/2 blocks and seven digs. Carper scored 12 points, including three aces, and 14 digs. Patchen added 11 points, a team-high 18 digs, and three kills.

Betsy Blount led the team in assists with nine, while Hailey Watson had five assists, eight points and a team-high three blocks. Kayla Morgan contributed five kills and two blocks.

"I really think our defense and our intensity in the last 3 1/2 games were responsible for this win," McCullough said. "They came out a little bit tentative, but once the intensity picked up, they continued with it for the rest of the game."

The team came up with 23 kills, including four from senior Stephanie Kethley and 10 blocks. McCullough said the front line blocking of Gibby, Watson and Morgan made it easier for the back line.

"They all worked pretty well together for it to be the first game," the coach said. "Christina Patchen and Casey Carper were very active, diving after balls and making incredible digs to keep the plays going."

Kethley added 13 digs, while Gibby had seven, Blount two, and Morgan, NeNe Hynson and Jennifer Moreland contributed one each. Susan Dorn added three assists for the Lady Cats.

Their next game is Friday in Jacksonville.

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