|Lady Cats' success on volleyball court reflected in All-District selections|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Nov. 16, 2004 - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats' success on the volleyball court was reflected in the 12-4A All-District team voted on by the coaches.
Senior setter Betsy Blount and defensive specialist Casey Carper were both awarded superlative honors, junior outside hitters Tara Gibby and senior Christina Patchen were First Team selections, junior outside hitter/setter Hailey Watson and sophomore middle blocker Kayla Morgan were Second Team picks, and seniors Stephanie Kethley, NeNe Hynson and junior Marlee Peugh were named Honorable Mention.
The Lady Cats finished in second place in 12-4A with a 7-3 record (16-14 overall), and advanced to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons under first-year head coach John McCullough.
"I was very pleased with the voting turned out," McCullough said. "Finishing second in district, you hope other coaches will recognize that your girls have played well, and it worked out that way. It speaks highly of the girls to get this recognition."
Blount was named the district's Most Valuable Setter while Carper earned the Co-Defensive Player of the Year award with North Lamar senior Celeste Coward.
NL senior Stormy Smith was chosen the conference's Most Valuable Player as the Pantherettes went through the district season unbeaten. Texas High senior Angela Sheppard was the Most Valuable Hitter, while her teammate Miracle Thurston was named Newcomer of the Year.
North Lamar had eight players on the first and second teams, while SSHS and Texas High had six each.
"I was very pleased with Betsy and Casey getting superlative awards and Tara and Christina getting First Team," McCullough said. "Casey led the district in number of digs, and Betsy had 94 percent on her sets.
"Getting second place and going 7-3 was exciting for the girls, and hopefully we got the program headed in the right direction and will be able to build on that next year."
Below is a look at each of the girls honored:
Betsy Blount had 119 assists in 10 district games and was 94 percent accurate on her sets. She was also a very accurate server.
Casey Carper was known for her one-handed saves, and she finished with a district-high 190 digs. She also had a 86.7 percent ratio on her passes.
Tara Gibby led the team in kills with 103 to go with 120 digs, 42 blocks and a 32-percent hitting ratio.
Christina Patchen also played back row and front row and finished with 182 digs, 52 kills, 78.3 percent on her passing and 25 percent on hitting.
Hailey Watson recorded 93 digs to go with 44 kills, third on the team, and a 26 percent hitting ratio.
Kayla Morgan emerged during district as a force at the net, and she ended with 49 blocks, second-highest in 12-4A, 40 kills and a 23-percent hitting ratio.
Stephanie Kethley and NeNe Hynson both rotated on the front row to give the team depth at outside hitter, and Marlee Peugh came in as a defensive specialist and was a very accurate server.