Happy Lady Cats win first district game

By DON WALLACE, News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 1, 2008 - MOUNT PLEASANT - It was smiles all around for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats as they snapped a four-game losing streak in district and broke free for a win.

The Lady Cats did more than win, they swept all matches in varsity, junior varsity and freshmen competition at the Mount Pleasant High School gym.

The varsity won by scores of 25-22, 25-21, 25-16 and 25-7. The Lady Cat JV won 25-13, 25-21 and 25-17; the freshmen won by overwhelming margins of 25-3 and 25-9.

Concerning the varsity game, head coach Rachel Curtis was overjoyed that her team snapped out of an 0-4 funk in District 13-4A action.

"This feels awesome, tonight we did what we needed to do," Curtis said. "We played like we have been playing in practice. We truly came together as a team."

The coach revealed that the team had a very consistent night serving, missing just three in four games. Tara Tomlinson had 13 kills and Mackenzie Cross added nine,

"Everyone really pulled together. It was a team win, we all played well, I was really proud of them," Curtis said. "We all did our job well. We kept our errors down. In the last game we said we were going to keep them at seven points and we did."

The coach continued, "We are finally starting to believe. They believe in the system and in one another. They had a great time, we had fun and that's when we play well."

Teams traded points in the first half of the opening varsity game.Mount Pleasant got key service points from Destiny Smith as the Lady Tigers pulled ahead 11-8. Sulphur Springs got a point when Mount Pleasant was called for a double hit. Then the hometown team using serves by Mallory McBride as they went ahead 14-11.

Kills by Smith for Mount Pleasant along with steady serving took advantage of some mishits and errant shots by Sulphur Springs. Down 22-17 the Lady Cats rallied for five of the next six points. But the Lady Tigers pulled away late to win the opening game 25-22.

The second game started the same way as the first, the teams trading points. After 20 points were played, Sulphur Springs had a slim 10-9 lead. The squads battled back-and-forth with Brittany Jones and Smith served for points for Mount Pleasant. The Lady Cats got key kills from tolinson and Cross and steady serves from Krista McMahan, The game was tied at 19-all before Sulphur Springs got hot, Maurie Lewis, a team sparkplug, used her enthusiastic energy to spark a rally with two serves for points. Brittani Crawford kept the ball in play with some incredible digs and save. Crawford and Cross served the final points of the match as Sulphur Springs won the second game, 25-21.

Game three was another battle, but not a fierce as it appeared the Lady Cats were being overwhelmed by the team play of Sulphur Springs. The Lady Cats used three served by Crawford for points and three more from Cross to jump ahead 7-2. Poor or errant hits by Mount Pleasant played right into the hands of the surging Lady Cats as they bolted ahead 11-5. The Lady Tigers got their second win and backed up by kills from Smith, they sliced the Sulphur Springs lead to 17-14. Bayleigh Butler came up large with four service points and the Lady Cats got the key points late to win by a 25-16 score, taking a 2-1 lead in match.

The Lady Cats were not about to let the fourth game get away. Three kills and a block by Cross got the team rolling and serves by Butler and McMahan allowed Sulphur Springs to jump out to a 12-3 lead. The Lady Tigers were losing their focus and at one point gave up four points off mishit shots into the net. Sulphur Springs won the final game 25-7 to take the match.

In junior varsity play the Sulphur Springs girls gave coach Eric Buck a birthday present with a team win.

Buck said he had been coaching 23 years and it was possibly the first time a team he was coaching had won on his birthday.

Buck said, "We start slow, but we battled back. We played very well late in the match. Jalie Eppars, Kryi Ivery and Colette McDuff each had three kills in the third game. We had been working on our back row hitting. It all paid off, We also got good setting from Katy Mason and Katie Hammons."

All three Sulphur Springs teams will be in action at home Friday against teams from Longview. Play begins at 4:30 p.m. with the varsity first, followed by the JV and freshmen teams.

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