Lady Cats volleyball splits doubleheader with Prairiland and Wills Point
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Sept. 14, 2005 - Sulphur Springs head coach John McCullough saw a tale of two different teams Tuesday night against the Prairiland Lady Patriots and the Wills Point Lady Tigers.

The Lady Cats lost to Prairiland 17-25, 20-25, 19-25, and then came back against Wills Point and won 25-7, 25-20, 25-23. 

"It was like I told the girls in the first game we didn't play with any emotion, we played flat and didn't communicate. I told the girls that they really didn't look like they wanted to be out there," the coach said.

"They had a little get-together in between games and talked about it and to the girls credit they came out in the second game and played with emotion, they played with excitement and communicated to each other and they played at the level they are capable of playing at."

Sulphur Springs (15-8) wraps up pre-district with a match against the Bonham Lady Warriors in a varsity-only contest at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Wildcat Gym.

McCullough said Bonham defeated the Lady Cats in two straight games during the Terrell tournament and being consistent will be the key to winning that match.

"Consistency is the main thing that we need to work on right now and we are going to have to bring a good game Friday night because Bonham is ranked No. 13 in Class 3A. They are an exceptional team, and I think it will come down to them and Pleasant Grove out of this region. They have four exceptional hitters, and hopefully we will play at the level we played during this second game."

In Game 2 of the opening match, Prairiland jumped out to a 13-4 lead as Hailey Norwood smacked a kill past the SSHS defense. Norwood had eight kills for the Lady Patriots in the win.

SSHS senior Tara Gibby came back and delivered three straight aces, but the Lady Cats could not pull any closer than 13-8.

"She (Tara) stepped up and served well and hit the ball well, and again she showed senior leadership right there and it is good to have a senior step up," McCullough said.

Against Prairiland, Kristen McDonald led the way with seven kills, Gibby had four aces and six kills, Hailey Watson finished with 13 assists and five kills, and Laura Ream had 10 assists and five kills. 

In their final match against Wills Point, SSHS stormed to a 6-1 lead as Brittany Moore had five straight service points during that run. 

"We just talked about getting ourselves up and playing like a team because we took a little time off from everybody and played together, sat together, and did things together as a team between games. So, we finally started communicating and dominated," Gibby said.

The Lady Tigers then cut into the deficit and got within four points at 9-5 before senior Marlee Peugh nailed four straight aces for a 14-5 lead.

The Lady Cats then wrapped up Game 1 on an 11-0 run as Gibby led the way with 10 service points and a kill during that stretch. Gibby had 18 service points, nine aces, five kills and two blocks against Wills Point.

"I started focusing on my serves because I hadn't been getting many in in the first game and so I used the old method of taking the volleyball and looking at it and focusing on it and I just did what I could," Gibby said.

Kayla Morgan had nine kills, three blocks, and one ace, while Watson led in assists with 10 and had three kills on the night.

McCullough said with district starting next Tuesday against Paris, the team needs to step up this week and bring their best game every night in order to win a district title.

"Right now, we are kind of like a Jekyll and Hyde team and hopefully we will get that worked out before next Tuesday. I told the girls that you have to show up every night and play their best game," the coach said.

"The teams are very even in our district and we have got to show up and play with a high level, and again if we do that, then I have no doubt that we can be district champions."

McCullough praised the play of the entire team and how they bounced back against the Lady Tigers in picking up the win.

"In the second game, we were passing the ball much better, we had girls that were flying to the ball and communicating and Kayla Morgan hit an exceptional quick set that their middle blocker never moved. The second game is the way that you draw it up," the coach said. "At the same time, the back row players stepped up and made great passes to the setters, who then made great set to the hitters during the game."

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