|Seniors Peugh and Cross key back row players in Lady Cats success this season|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Sept. 29, 2005 - Back row doesn't mean second-class.
Sulphur Springs' five-game victory over Mount Pleasant on Tuesday proved that.
The Lady Cats won the final three games of the match because they did a better job of serve-receive and were able to recover defensively on Mount Pleasant's tips. Much of the credit goes to the back row.
In volleyball, back row players are similar to offensive linemen in football in terms of receiving little notice. They don't get the kills and blocks that punctuate front row play, but without their digs and passes, the kill opportunities aren't there.
Seniors Marlee Peugh and Colbie Cross are two key back row players for the Lady Cats, who are nearing the 20-win plateau with a record of 18-9 overall, 3-0 in District 12-4A.
Peugh, a two-year letterman, is also one of the top servers on the team, while Cross is libero, a purely defensive substitute.
"Having two seniors back there with game experience is big for us," said SSHS head coach John McCullough. "Both of those two the past couple of weeks have been diving on the floor to get balls."
Besides playing back row together, Peugh and Cross have a few other similarities. Both were in the homecoming court, each will matriculate to a university where her older sister is attending, and they each want to be a medical professional.
Peugh is planning on attending nursing school at Texas Tech with an eye on being a nurse anesthetist, while Cross, the daughter of Johnny and Diana Cross, will be going to Baylor with a goal of becoming a dermatologist.
They also have each played hurt. Peugh's right elbow swelled considerably during the Paris match after she banged it while diving for a ball. Cross has been playing with a sore back for a week or more.
"When you've got girls who don't want to come out of the game, even when they're injured, you've got a chance to be good because that's the kind of dedication and commitment that the girls are having," McCullough said. "They want to play regardless of if they're injured because they want to do what they can to help the team."
That's exactly what they each said.
"I like the atmosphere, being involved with a team and having that unity with the other girls," said Peugh, the daughter of Mark and LeeAnn Peugh. "I just really like the team togetherness and how we can come from the bottom and work our way all the way up as a team. It takes all of us working together to win."
Cross' goal is "to do my best and help my team," she explained. "The unity of the team, teamwork and team spirit is what I love about volleyball."
They are also both heavily involved in school and community activities. Peugh is active in Key Club, Spanish Club, National Honor Society, health science technology class and HKK. Cross' extracurricular activities include Leadership Class, Student Council for three years, FCA, Key Club, French Club, Spanish Club, Art Club co-president, Texas Scholar and National Honor Society.
Oh, yes, and volleyball, too.
McCullough said the two girls have helped fill a hole left by last year's District Defensive MVP, Casey Carper, while finding their own niche.
"Marlee has really stepped up this year, especially in her serving. She's one of our top servers," McCullough said. "She's got the little spin on it so that if the other team is not moving their feet, they'll hit it off to the side and she'll get an ace out of it. She's been very dependable serving, and we can always depend on her when she comes in to get a big serve and have a chance to score points."
"Colbie has done a good job for us being the libero. It's been good for us because the libero does so many different things for us. She gets digs, and she does a good job passing the ball."