Lady Cats split matches with Canton, Rains
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
Sept. 5, 2007 - EMORY - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats were involved in two sweeps on Tuesday - one for and one against.
The Lady Cats swept Canton 25-8, 25-19, 25-21, then lost three straight games to Emory Rains, 25-10, 25-19, 25-19, in a dual match at Rains High School. The Lady Cats' record is now 11-12, with Wills Point coming to town on Friday.
Two of Sulphur Springs' losses have come to Rains, though the Lady Cats played them better than they did at home last week.
"I think those last two games we played Rains, we really stepped up," said SSHS head coach Rachel Curtis. "I saw improvement from last week.
"I think we did well as far as adjusting to what they were doing. I told the girls, 'She's going to block it, so you've got to hit around her, and we started playing smart.' "
The "she" that Curtis was referring to was Rains sophomore middle blocker Chelsee Hudson, who finished with 16 kills and five blocks. Senior Kara Hoover added seven kills and one block.
It was Hoover who ended a late SSHS rally in the third and final game. SSHS junior Mackenzie Cross served six straight points, including two aces, and received a key block from classmate Katie Dodd to pull the Lady Cats to within 22-19. But, Hoover smashed a kill to end the run, then Rains won the final two points to take the match.
In that match, the Lady Cats were led at the net by Cross with four kills and Dodd with three kills and a block. Cross and Kamesha Hall both had six service points and Maurie Lewis contributed six assists.
Rains' attacking offense (34 kills) kept Sulphur Springs on the defensive. But, in the earlier match, the Lady Cats were able to be the aggressor against Canton.
After pulling away to win the first game against Canton by 17 points, the Lady Cats had to break away late in the final two games.
In the second game, Canton pulled to within 16-13 before the Lady Cats won eight of the next nine points. Cross had five kills in the rally, and Baleigh Butler had one kill to go along with three service points including an ace. Butler finished with seven kills in the match, while Cross had 15.
"We were able to attack more against Canton," said Butler. "The hitting drills we worked on in practice really came through in the Canton game. i was hoping that would carry over into the Rains game, and it did to some extent, but Rains is definitely a better team than Canton.
"They did well against good competition."
In the final game against Canton, the Lady Cats found themselves behind by seven points, 18-11, before breaking the Eaglettes' serve. After trading points, SSHS' Hall served nine straight points to put the Lady Cats ahead 24-20.
The Lady Cats attacked the net in the run with Butler getting three kills on a smash, a tip and a dink, and junior Kelsey Smith finishing off a back row kill.
Cross then ended the match with a tip, set up by Lewis' 18th assist.
Hall ended the match with 16 service points.
The Lady Cats return to the court on Friday at home against Wills Point. The freshmen and JV will start at 4:30 p.m. in separate gyms, with the varsity to follow. Sulphur Springs varsity will also play at 10 a.m. Saturday in Commerce against the Lady Tigers.