|Lady Cats upset with Chisum loss|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Sept. 15, 2004 - Following Tuesday night's game with Chisum, the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats were visibly upset. That's OK with coach John McCullough.
He wasn't happy with a four-game loss to Prairiland, but he liked the message sent by his girls following the game.
"They were down because now they understand they have the makings of a good team. We've just got to find a way to put it together,' he explained. "Losing a tight game like that against a good opponent like that, it was good to see they were down about it because now they have higher expectations.
"We hope to build on that with district starting next Tuesday. We have to prepare and get ready for that."
The Lady Cats record evened at 9-9 following the 25-17, 15-25, 21-25, 24-26 loss to Prairiland. Sulphur Springs opens District 12-4A play next Tuesday at home against Paris.
The Lady Cats had been on a good run, winning their last three matches going into Tuesday's game - and after winning the first game convincingly, it appeared they would stretch that winning streak to four games.
But, they never scored more than two consecutive points in game two, and it was a battle from then on.
"Overall, it was a great effort. We've just got to put teams away when we get the opportunity, and we've got to maintain our focus and not get down on ourselves," McCullough explained.
"The only thing I was disappointed in was game two. I thought we had kind of overcome that point where we get down on ourselves, especially after we had beaten them the first game, 25-17, and had really dominated it."
After evening the match at 1-1, Prairiland broke a 20-20 tie in game three to win it, 25-21. Then, in game four, the Lady Patriots used a reversed call to help stage a late comeback.
With Sulphur Springs leading, 23-22, and holding serve, senior NeNe Hynson killed the ball on a spike and the referee awarded SSHS a point. After a conference between the two officials, the referee reversed herself, giving the point to Prairiland, then she decided to replay the point entirely.
Instead of leading, 24-22, the Lady Cats lost the next serve and eventually the game, 24-26.
"We've got to overcome a call like that," McCullough said. "Sometimes you don't get the calls you like, but you can't let that affect your focus."
The Lady Cats got a fine all-around game from junior Hailey Watson, who led the team in kills with 13 and added 15 assists and four service points. Junior Tara Gibby contributed 11 kills, two blocks and six points, while senior Christina Patchen had eight kills, a team-high 22 digs and nine points.
Senior Betsy Blount recorded a team-high high 16 assists, and sophomore Kayla Morgan had two quick blocks in the game one win as she tried to control the spiking of Prairiland's Chelsey Anderson (15 kills) and Britney Martin (13 kills).
In game one, it appeared the Lady Cats would cruise as they took an eight-point win. The Lady Pats pulled to within 17-16, but Gibby scored on a block and then Sulphur Springs won seven of the last eight points behind the serving of Watson and Marlee Peugh.
But, in game two, Sulphur Springs won just four of its service points in the 10-point loss.
In game three, the teams traded points with neither squad getting more than three points ahead until the final serve. Early in the game, Casey Carper made a great diving dig on the back row, sending the ball across the net and hitting near the line for a point. It was one of several outstanding digs and saves she recorded. Peugh also was active on the back row, making back-to-back diving saves late in the game to tie the score at 20-20.
Then, in game four, the Lady Cats went up, 5-0, only have Prairiland eventually tie the game at 9-9. Three straight kills by Gibby gave SSHS a 19-16 lead, but despite late-game kills by Patchen, Hynson and Kristen McDonald, the Lady Patriots pulled out the match point.
Prairiland's junior varsity won a best-of-three match against Sulphur Springs, dropping the SSHS record to 8-6.
Brittany Moore, with a team-high 12 service points and 12 kills, led the Lady Cats along with Laura Ream, who recorded seven points, eight assists and four kills.
Jordan Anderson added five kills and two assists, Darla Dickson had three kills and two blocks, and Kaylee Cotton had four points and a kill. Whitney Rogers added five points, Tarra Morton three and Colbie Cross and Erica Verner had two points each. Verner also added an assist. Brandi Laine recorded three assists, while Katie McCarty had two kills and Wendy Williams had one.