|Lady Cats volleyball improves to 12-6 with win over Pittsburg|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Sept. 10, 2005 - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats made it a little bit tougher than what coach John McCullough would have liked, but they came through with a four-game victory over Pittsburg Friday afternoon.
The Lady Cats (12-6) took easy victories in the first and fourth games, but made McCullough sweat it out in the middle two games. They won by scores of 25-16, 20-25, 26-24, 25-13.
Sulphur Springs cruised to an 8-1 lead in the first game, and the mirage that the entire match would be that easy may have played into the Lady Cats' psyche. They were also playing without senior starting outside hitter/setter Hailey Watson.
"Hailey wasn't here, so we had people playing out of position and in new positions, so the combination of not being familiar with certain rotations and then the first game came so easy that we just lost our focus in the second game," McCullough said. "Fortunately, we were able to come back in the third and fourth games and finish it off.
"We came back the fourth game and were re-focused and played the way we were supposed to play and won, 25-13. To be honest, all three games should have been about that score."
Though there were doubts in the third game.
Sulphur Springs rolled to a 22-11 lead on Laura Ream's kill, but the Lady Pirates broke serve and won 13 of the next 15 points to tie the game at 24-24. SSHS senior Tara Gibby's spike finally broke Pittsburg's long run, and junior Kristen McDonald's kill gave the Lady Cats the two-point victory.
Ream, who opened Game 3 with seven straight service points, led the team with 19 points, nine aces and 23 assists. Gibby added eight kills, six points and two blocks, and McDonald contributed eight kills.
McCullough said the uneven performance showed the Lady Cats are playing to the level of their competition at times.
"We're battling with staying focused the entire time. I told the girls, 'You can't do that in district. If you're not focused the entire time, then you let someone sneak up on you or you give them the thought that they can play with you,' " he said. "That begins to get scary, because we need to put teams away when we have the chance."
Sulphur Springs did that in Games 1 and 4. Behind six straight service points from junior Brittany Moore, the Lady Cats took an 8-1 lead in the opening game and rode the strong net play of Gibby, sophomore Marci Womack and Moore to the win.
Womack, in her first varsity action, finished with three kills, two blocks and an assist, while Moore had eight service points, four aces and six kills. Senior Marlee Peugh added eight points.
In Game 2, the Lady Cats never led, though they made a strong push late in the game to tie the score at 20-20 on a kill from junior Kayla Morgan, who recorded a team-high 10 kills to go with nine points and five aces.
But, Pittsburg's LaKasha White had three spikes over the final five points to put the game away.
After Game 3's close call, the Lady Cats regrouped and won the final game easily behind seven straight points from Ream and three kills each from McDonald, Morgan and Moore. Sophomore Amanda McGowin also scored five points in the game to go with two assists, and libero Colbie Cross made a diving save.
The Lady Cats are on the road today in the Terrell tournament. They were scheduled to play a strong Bonham team at 9 a.m., and then would play either at 2 p.m. if they won or 1 p.m. if they lost.
They will return home for a Tuesday match-up against Wills Point and Prairiland.