Consolation bracket championship for Lady Cats
From Staff Reports

August 30, 2004 - WILLS POINT - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats put together a nice run on Saturday, winning the consolation bracket of the Wills Point Volleyball Tournament.

The Lady Cats (6-7) lost a close match to Lakeview Centennial in Saturday's opener, then came back to beat Rusk and Lone Oak in their final two games.

SSHS head coach John McCullough was pleased with the teamwork he saw from the girls, and said the only disappointing element was the close loss to Lakeview Centennial, a Class 5A school in Garland.

"We played well in that game. We should have won it," McCullough said. "We were ahead in the third game, 19-12, at one point and just didn't put them away. I told the girls that whoever won that game would win the Silver bracket championship, and Lakeview ended up winning it."

He said after splitting matches with Lufkin and Wills Point in pool play on Friday, the team had a meeting, called by senior Christina Patchen, on the hour-long bus ride home.

"We had some leaders step up, like Christina. You could tell on Saturday that they played better together, played more relaxed," McCullough said. "The athletic ability and hustle have been there the whole time, now the teamwork is starting to come together, so now it's just that final focus to find a way to put a team away when you get that close."

In the 20-25, 25-23, 25-23 loss to Lakeview, senior Stephanie Kethley led the team with nine kills, while junior Tara Gibby added six kills, eight points and three blocks. Patchen contributed eight points with two aces, while NeNe Hynson and Kayla Morgan had a pair of blocks each.

We've got to find a way of staying consistent and finishing things off.

Kethley had nine kills against Lakeview, Gibby had six. Scoring: Gibby had eight points serving with one ace; Patchen had eight points with two aces. Gibby with three blocks, Hynson and Morgan two.

"The best overall game we had was from Stephanie Kethley," the coach said. "She hit the ball very well. She had been struggling with that, but she put it together Saturday."

The Lady Cats then disposed of Rusk by scores of 25-17, 25-16, and Lone Oak, 25-10, 25-17. Against Rusk, Kethley and Kristen McDonald both had a team-high four kills, while Gibby added two. In the Lone Oak win, Hynson served the final seven points to put the match away.

" We're very close. We're right on the edge.," McCullough said. "We've just got to put them away and wrap up wins when we get the chance."

The Lady Cats will not play on Tuesday, then will go to the Robert E. Lee Tournament in Tyler on Friday and Saturday to face some of the best teams in East Texas.

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