Lady Cats wash away taste of defeat with another win
From Staff Reports

Aug. 17, 2005 - TYLER - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats tasted defeat for the first time Tuesday night, but quickly washed away the bitter taste with a victory over Chapel Hill in a doubleheader at John Tyler.

John Tyler, which finished second in District 9-5A last season, took a four-game match from the Lady Cats (3-1). But, Sulphur Springs then came back to beat Chapel Hill, a Class 3A regional semifinalist in 2004, in five games.

"I think from the whole night that the girls understand that when they play the way they're capable, and they play the way they're supposed to, they can play with anybody," said SSHS head coach John McCullough. "So, that was a big step for us last night."

The first two games against John Tyler took on the look of a long night when the Lady Lions won handily, 25-6, 25-7. But, the Lady Cats came back in Game 3 to win, 25-22, then held off JT as long as possible in Game 4 before the Lady Lions pulled out a 25-17 victory.

McCullough said John Tyler's athletic ability was something the Lady Cats haven't seen from their first two opponents, and it took them a while to adjust.

"They have five girls who can get up above the net and hit from anywhere, and that's something we weren't accustomed to seeing and didn't adjust to very well early on," McCullough said. "After that second game, I told girls it was time to find out what they are made of, and if they're going to compete - are they going to play together or play as individuals?

"Our goal that third game was to score 15 points, because we scored just 13 the first two games combined. We got to 15 and had the lead, so I told them to get to 20. Then, once we got to 20, I said, 'Let's win it,' and the girls did."

The fourth game was back-and-forth before JT scored five points in a row toward the end to come away with an eight-point victory.

Senior Tara Gibby and junior Brittany Moore both scored seven service points to lead the Lady Cats, and senior Hailey Watson added five. Watson also led the team in kills with nine to go with seven assists. Gibby had four kills and seven digs, while junior Kristen McDonald and Moore had two kills each.

Senior Laura Ream had a team-high 10 assists to go with three points, and Colbie Cross and Marlee Peugh each had three digs.

"That was a great test for us. That showed that they can play with anybody, and I think they got some confidence out of that game," McCullough said. "We got better in that game, even though we didn't win. We played with them the last two games, and I was real proud of that."

Against Chapel Hill, the Lady Cats jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the first game, only to end up dropping it, 20-25. They won Game 2, 25-20, lost Game 3, 23-25, and then pulled out the final two games, 25-16 and 15-9.

"We talked about how the girls got complacent with a big lead in the first game," said McCullough. "Against Chapel Hill, the big thing was we hit better. Against John Tyler, we started hitting around girls and hitting at angles in the final two games, and that was good to see the girls adjust to that."

Gibby had a big game against Chapel Hill with 14 kills in 40 hits. She also had a block and two points. Peugh led the team in scoring with 16 service points to go along with 10 digs, and Cross added 17 points and a team high three aces.

Watson scored 11 points and set a team-high 16 assists to go with six kills and a block, and Jessica Owens added five assists and a block. Moore contributed 11 points and five kills, while Amanda McGowin added seven digs. Morgan had six kills, six points and three blocks.

The Lady Cats are off this weekend. Their next game is their home opener on Tuesday against Chisum and Rains. Freshmen will play at SSMS, with the JV and varsity starting at SSHS at 4:30 p.m.

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