NL too powerful for Lady Cats

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

Sept. 30, 2007 - A change of venue didn't seem to upset the North Lamar Pantherettes on Friday.

The Pantherettes, co-leaders in District 11-4A, showed the excellent passing and hitting skills that have them ranked No. 18 in the state with a four-game victory over the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats, 25-17, 25-11, 23-25, 25-14.

The game was played at Wildcat Gym because of scheduling conflicts with officials. It was originally scheduled to be played at North Lamar.

For their part, the Lady Cats played much better than they did in Tuesday's disappointing loss to Mount Pleasant, but North Lamar was just too good on Friday.

NL four-year letterman Logan Anglin was a strong presence at the net with 18 kills and on the service line with 20 points. The Pantherettes also got 16 combined kills from seniors Emily Fouse and Ali Stone.

The Lady Cats countered with a solid performance from junior middle blocker Katie Dodd, who had a team-high nine kills, while junior Brittani Crawford had three kills and two blocks.

Sulphur Springs responded to North Lamar's attacks for most of the match, several times pulling back within striking distance after the Pantherettes had made strong runs.

For the home team, the most exciting game was the third one, in which they led for most of the game before falling behind late, 21-19 on an ace by Stone. However, Dodd stopped the run with a well-placed tip and then SSHS junior Mackenzie Cross had a kill off an excellent one-handed save by classmate Baleigh Butler to draw the Lady Cats even. Cross, who had a total of seven kills, then sandwiched two of them around a Butler spike to give the Lady Cats a 24-21 lead. Cross finished off the game with a deep spike that hit just inside the back line.

North Lamar won the first game by building a nine-point cushion, 14-5, before the Lady Cats came back to draw to within 17-14 on an ace serve from sophomore Maurie Lewis, who finished with a team-high nine points and 13 assists.

Aces were hard to come by for the Lady Cats, though, as they managed just five in the match. That was a testament to North Lamar's passing acumen.

Two of Sulphur Springs' aces came early in the fourth game when Butler gave the Lady Cats an 8-7 lead with her serving. But, North Lamar's Anglin then reeled off seven straight points to put the Pantherettes securely in the lead.

SSHS had 26 kills total with Butler and junior Krista McMahan recording three each and Kelsey Smith with two. Butler also had six points and McMahan four. Seniors Amanda McGowin, who had a strong back row game, and Kamesha Hall combined for six service points.

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