Texas High hits hard in four-game victory

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 19, 2007 - It took the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats two games to figure out they could play with Texas High. By that time, though, it was too late.

Texas High used the powerful hitting of Dedra Ganaway and Alex Williams to take a four-game victory in the District 11-4A volleyball opener on Tuesday, 25-12, 25-13, 20-25, 25-19.

SSHS head coach Rachel Curtis saw a complete turnaround from her team in the final two games after being tentative in the opening pair.

"The first two games, I don't think we played the way we could," she said. "I told the girls if we could have erased the first two games, we would have been on track. We came out in the third game and fought hard and got a win.

"In the fourth game, I felt like the momentum was definitely going our way."

The Lady Cats (12-15, 0-1 in district) never led in the first two games, but took a 3-0 lead in Game 3 behind the serving of junior Kelsey Smith and a hard kill by junior Katie Dodd. After getting just four kills in the first two games combined, the Lady Cats had eight kills in Game 3 alone.

In a 10-4 run during the middle of the game in which the Lady Cats broke a 6-6 tie to lead 16-8, junior Krista McMahan had two of her team-high seven kills. The SSHS lead reached 22-13, but Texas High (16-11, 1-0) scored six straight points on three Ganaway kills before the Lady Cats broke serve and McMahan scored the winning point on a kill down the line.

Ganaway finished the match with 21 kills and two blocks, while teammate Williams had 12 kills and three blocks.

In the final game, neither team led by more than three points until Texas High broke a 13-13 tie by winning eight of the next nine points. SSHS junior Mackenzie Cross had two spikes to get the Lady Cats back to within five points, but they couldn't get any closer.

Cross finished with four kills, two blocks, eight points and three aces, while junior Baleigh Butler added five kills, five points and three aces, and Dodd had three kills. Senior Kamesha Hall led the team in service points with nine to go with two aces, and sophomore Maurie Lewis had a team-high 15 assists. Brittani Crawford added two assists and a kill.

In the first two games, it was all Texas High. The Lady Tigers took a 6-0 lead behind two aces by Sharee Miller in the opening game and had another 6-0 run early in the game.

Ganaway had five kills in Game 1, as she was able to simply jump over the SSHS blocks and hammer down kills at the 10-foot line.

"Some of those things, we beat ourselves," Curtis said. "We missed some key serves, which is pretty unlike us. We weren't blocking real well - and I realize those girls are huge and anyone that was there saw that - but we beat ourselves in some respects.

"Anybody who looked at our two teams would have thought we would have gotten blown out, and we didn't. We played with them and we fought. I was proud of their performance the third and fourth games."

Game 2 was similar to the first game as Texas High got out to an 8-1 lead. Despite a pair of kills by Butler, the Lady Cats never got back into the game.

Sulphur Springs will travel to Paris on Friday for their next district match. The JV and freshmen are scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

The SSHS JV beat Texas High on Tuesday, 25-19, 22-25, 25-20. The final points were scored on an ace by Katy Mason and a spike by Spencer Martin.

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