Lady Cats miss out on first district win

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

Sept. 26, 2007 - MOUNT PLEASANT - The Mount Pleasant Lady Tigers came up aces Tuesday in their match with Sulphur Springs.

Mount Pleasant served 16 aces, including seven in the final game to defeat the Lady Cats in four games, 25-23, 19-25, 25-12, 25-20.

Serve-receive was just one of the areas of concern for the Lady Cats, who lost a winnable match when they didn't display the intensity they had show throughout the season, said SSHS head coach Rachel Curtis.

"I was upset with the girls and the girls were upset with themselves because we know they can play better than that," she said. "That's probably the hardest part in sports - when you don't play to your full potential.

"The girls were really upset after the game because they didn't get beat, they lost it. They gave that game to Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant gave us every opportunity to win, and we didn't pull through."

It appeared after a two-point loss in Game 1 that the Lady Cats had resurrected themselves with a 25-19 victory in Game 2. But, Mount Pleasant started Game 3 with a 7-0 run behind the serving of Katy Webster, and the Lady Cats never got closer than five points the remainder of the game.

Game 4 was tied at 7-7 before Mount Pleasant won nine of the next 11 points. Four of those points came on aces.

"We usually don't shank passes in serve-receive," Curtis said. "Usually in serve-receive, we're pretty strong, but we weren't last night. We weren't moving our feet and getting in position."

The Lady Cats also had problems with their own serves. They had nine bad serves to counter just nine aces. Junior Krista McMahan led the team in service points with 14 and two aces, while senior Amanda McGowin had nine points and two aces.

In Game 1, the lead went back and forth without either team holding more than a two-point cushion until MP took a 24-21 lead on an SSHS ball into the net. The Lady Cats won the next point on a kill from junior Baleigh Butler off an assist by sophomore Maurie Lewis. But, MP's Kylie Thomas had a spike on the next volley to end the match.

For SSHS, Butler had a team-high eight kills to go with one block. Junior Mackenzie Cross added seven kills and one block, while junior Katie Dodd added four kills and a team-high four blocks. Brittani Crawford recorded three kills, two assists and a block. Lewis had a team-high 18 assists.

The Lady Cats pulled out Game 2 by scoring seven straight points behind the serving of McGowin, who had two aces in the run. The winning point came when McMahan successfully spiked down the line.

But, Game 3 was disastrous for Sulphur Springs. MP's Thomas had two kills and two blocks as the Lady Tigers started 7-0. She ended with eight kills and three blocks, while teammate Destiny Smith had 13 kills and two blocks.

"We really fell apart in the third game," Curtis said. "I felt like in the second game, we were ready to go, but we didn't carry that over to the next game."

Game 4 turned on a six-point run by Mount Pleasant sandwiched around two kills by SSHS' Butler that cut the deficit to 14-8. The Lady Cats finally got to within 21-19 on a short set spike by Cross, but MP's Smith ended the run with a kill and won the game on another spike.

The loss drops Sulphur Springs' record to 0-3 in District 11-4A (12-17 overall), but fortunately the Lady Cats are just one game out of third place. The problem, however, is they have to travel to face district co-leader and 18th-ranked North Lamar on Friday.

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