|Lady Cats clinch playoffs with four-game victory over MP|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Oct. 18, 2004 - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats no longer have to wonder if they're going to be in the playoffs, just who they will play.
Sulphur Springs secured a postseason berth Friday with a four-game win over Mount Pleasant by scores of 25-18, 25-17, 14-25, 25-4.
With two games remaining in the regular season, the Lady Cats (6-2 in District 12-4A, 15-11 overall) could still be district co-champs, said SSHS head coach John McCullough.
"Going into games with North Lamar and Greenville at home this week, we could finish anywhere from first to third. If we take care of business, we'll definitely be second and could be first," McCullough said. "North Lamar is undefeated in district, and Greenville still has an outside shot at the playoffs, so finishing up the two games at home will be very big for us."
North Lamar leads the district with an 8-0 record (15-9 overall), while Texas High is third (5-3, 12-12) and Greenville is fourth at 3-5, 8-17. Sulphur Springs hosts North Lamar on Tuesday, with JV and freshmen games beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Against Mount Pleasant, the Lady Cats won the first two games handily, lost their focus in game three when MP's Katie Fields had 11 straight service points, but came back to whip the Lady Tigers, 25-4, in the clinching game. The only four points for MP were missed SSHS serves.
"That clinches a playoff spot for us, so we're excited about that," McCullough said. "We didn't play as well as we had been after that big emotional win over Texas High. I was worried that we might come out a little flat.
"But after we lost the third game, the girls came out and won the fourth game, 25-4. So, we finished out on a strong note, and I was pleased with that."
Junior Tara Gibby had a solid all-around match, leading the team in kills and blocks with five each, plus scoring eight points with four aces. Seniors Christina Patchen and Stephanie Kethley both had four kills apiece along with sophomore Kayla Morgan, who added a block. Also recording blocks were Kethley, senior NeNe Hynson and sophomore Kristen McDonald.
Junior Hailey Watson led the team in assists with 13, while Betsy Blount had eight. Watson also had 10 service points and one ace.
Senior Casey Carper had a team-high 13 digs and 14 points, including three aces. Junior Marlee Peugh added 10 points and four aces.
"It was definitely a team game. We had a lot of girls scoring point-wise and with the blocks and kills," McCullough said. "Overall, we weren't as sharp as we had been, but the girls came together and played as a team and finished on a strong note."
Depending on what position they end up the season, the Lady Cats will likely play either Forney, Wiley or Mesquite Poteet out of District 11-4A.
McCullough said before that happens, the girls will focus on getting their serves in. They have had 22 bad serves in the last three matches.
The JV girls won Friday's match-up with Mount Pleasant, 25-17, 25-27, 25-15 to improve to 5-3 in district, 14-14 overall.
Brittany Moore had a team-best 20 points, 16 digs and 11 aces to spearhead the Lady Cats' attack. She also had a kill and a block. Leading the team in kills was Tarra Morton with three, while Laura Ream had a team-high five sets to go with four points and a kill.
Katie McCarty added two kills and two blocks, while Whitney Rogers recorded seven points, one ace, 11 digs and one kill. Brandi Laine had four points and two assists, and Colbie Cross had five points and two aces. Darla Dickson recorded a kill and a block, while Erica Verner had four points and two assists.