North Hopkins beats Cumby in five games
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Sept. 21, 2005 - CUMBY - With a No. 10 ranking by the Texas Girls Coaches Association and a 18-3 record going into their district opener, the North Hopkins Lady Panthers needed five games against a scrappy Cumby Lady Trojans team Tuesday night.

The Lady Panthers won by scores of 25-9, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 15-7 to open 1-0 in District 19-A with a non-district doubleheader against Avery and Sulphur Bluff Friday night. North Hopkins plays Fruitvale next Tuesday night.

"That is what you call volleyball - the emotional ups and downs of the game, and you just have to be mentally tough at the end," said NHHS coach Danna Lewis.

"The girls put it together at the end and didn't make any mistakes which is important. I am proud of how the girls played in the first, second, and fifth set and I don't know what happened in the second and third set."

Renee' Morris, in here first year as head coach at Cumby, was proud of the way her team battled against North Hopkins.

"I felt like we played hard pretty all night and we never gave up. I am proud of the kids for the effort that they gave in the game," the coach said.

North Hopkins opened Game 1 on a 6-1 rally as Maegan Baxter assisted Katy Williams for an early kill. Baxter finished the match with 26 assists, three kills and one ace, while Williams had 18 kills, four blocks and two aces.

"Katy is awesome at the net and you can talk about your setters and Maegan is the only one that I have. She is working overtime, and she is averaging over 30 assists a game for us," Lewis said.

Game 2 was a back-and-forth affair between the two teams as Cumby's Scarlett Tarno tied the game at 4-4 on a kill from a Mary Ugalde assist, but Cumby could not get a lead during that game.

"Scarlett is my overall go-getter on offense and defense and she is a leader for the team and also is my most consistent player on the team," Morris said. "Beside Scarlett, Mary also is one of the top players that runs this team."

In Game 3, the Lady Trojans came out intense as they took an early 5-1 lead on an ace from Lindsey Lemon, and strong play from Ashley Heer secured the win on three consecutive aces late in the match.

Lewis said one of the main areas that the team needs to work on before Fruitvale next Tuesday night is working on filling some holes on the defensive side of the floor.

"We need to fill up some holes that we saw tonight and Cumby did an awesome job scrapping in the game," Lewis said.

In Game 4, Cumby (11-10) jumped out to a 12-6 lead on a kill by Karen Lacey, but the play of Williams and Ebbonye Johnson tied the game back up at 18-18.

Cumby won the game, 25-23, on a kill from Erin Templeton off an assist from Kasidy Huddleston.

In the final game, North Hopkins found every way possible to confuse Cumby and took a 14-7 lead on a kill from Johnson off an assist from Baxter.

Lewis said Tuesday's win was a total team effort and praised the play of Johnson and Tashona Berry for their play at the net. Berry had three aces and eight kills, and Johnson finished with nine kills for the Lady Panthers.

Morris said the Lady Trojans will be working on positioning and reading the opposing defense during practice this week as they prepare for Yantis next Tuesday.

Tarno led the way for the Lady Trojans with 11 kills, five aces and one block, while teammate Templeton had nine kills and one ace. Ugalde had 10 assists, four kills and three aces.

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