Lady Cats stay at .500 after first day of tournament
From Staff Reports

August 20, 2004 - McKINNEY - Going into the Texas Premier Volleyball Tournament on Thursday, the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats sported a 2-2 record.

After the first day of play, they still stand at .500 after splitting matches with Little Elm and North Mesquite.

The Lady Cats beat Little Elm in three straight games, 25-21, 25-11, 25-16, in the tournament's first round, but then lost to North Mesquite, a Class 5A squad who went three rounds deep in the playoffs last season, by scores of 25-21, 25-13, 25-11.

"If we get more consistent, we're going to be a good team," said coach John McCullough, whose team continues play in the tournament on Saturday. "We still need to work on consistency."

In the first match, senior Stephanie Kethley scored 16 points, including four aces. McCullough said she set the tone for the match, as the Lady Cats got 93 percent of their serves in.

"We only missed four serves in three games," McCullough said. "Kethley and Tara Gibby had excellent games serving. Christina Patchen had a great game hitting the ball, and Kayla Morgan had a good game blocking.

"The sets were outstanding - we only had one bad set. We shoot for a 2.0 in passing and we had a 2.1. So, the first game played extremely well."

Things started badly against North Mesquite, though, as the Lady Cats' first serve went into the net. Still, Sulphur Springs came back to make the first game 19-19.

"We missed three serves at critical points in that game, and our blocks were not consistent that game," the coach explained. "For a team that hits as well as they do, we have to be more consistent."

North Mesquite is led by 6-3 outside hitter Shelly Swendig, who has orally committed to Stephen F. Austin State University.

"She's a big hitter," McCullough said. "But, I saw some good things in that game. We did a great job with digs in the back row with that big girl hitting the ball. We did a better job with that than we did last Tuesday night (against John Tyler)."

The Lady Cats continue play in the tournament with a 9 a.m. Saturday game against Denton Ryan.

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