Sulphur Springs Lady Cats win "Senior Night" game

By DON WALLACE, News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 26, 2008 - It was a magical ending to a special afternoon for the Lady Cats. Six seniors were honored Friday at "Senior Night" for the Sulphur Springs volleyball team.

Then the team went out and lived up to the ability and downed Mount Pleasant in three straight games 25-16, 25-20, 25-20.

It was the second time in District 13-4A play against the Lady Tigers that Sulphur Springs had taken the match.

"We had a great night and it being 'Senior Night' it was very special with this group," said Sulphur Springs head volleyball coach Rachel Curtis. "They bond together, they play well together. So, tonight it was neat to see them play like that and do a great job. We kept the momentum up, we did the little things right. It was hard to stay focused on a night like this."

The coach continued, "It was a very special time and these girls are all special to me. I will never have another team like this, the unity, the friendship they have. They were my first varsity players last year. They great and improved so much, we have done great strides. It's like night and day. We played well against the competition all year."

The first game took a while for things to shake out as the squads looked for openings, while trading points.

Three Baleigh Butler serves and a Brittani Crawford kill allowed the Lady Cats to go ahead 11-8 lead. Moments later Kelsey Smith got three points off serves, then Katie Dodd turned in a kill shot at the net and the Lady Cats were on their way up 15-9.

Mackenzie Cross contributed a kill and Maurie Lewis got a point off a serve for Sulphur Springs as the Lady cats were up 18-11. The hometown 'Cats kept the pressure up and finished strong with four service points from Butler and a kill shot by Crawford to take the 25-16 victory in the opening game.

In the second game, Mount Pleasant's Destiny Smith flashed her athletic ability with two kills in the early going. Neither team could get a big lead, Butler had two service points, including an ace. Sulphur Springs made some unforced errors while the Lady Tigers stayed close at 14-9.

The visitors had a short hot streak scoring of serve by Shaniquia Grant to get five straight points to deadlock the game at 14.

But the spirited Lady Cats would not have it and rebounded to match the Lady Tigers point-for-point with good serve by Leiws and Kelsey Smith. The Lady Cats scored five of the final six points using key shots by Butler and Crawford to claim a 25-20 victory.

Sulphur Springs could smell the blood in the water and started the third game with a 5-1 thanks to excellent serving by Lewis and net play by Crawford and acrobatic digs by Libero Krista McMahan.

McMahan, a player with talent to play at the college level, also showed she could serve. The Lady Cats ripped off five straight points with McMahan serving line drives as Sulphur Springs took a 17-6 lead.

Mount Pleasant tried to stage a rally, but it was too little too late. The Lady Tigers could not match the Lady Cats as Sulphur Springs took the third game 25-20 to close out the match.

The Lady Cats are now 2-12 in district play.

"You would never know our record was what it was if you just saw us play," Curtis said. "I can't think of another team that would fight like they do. But that is what I wanted to teach them about life. No matter what the score is, you do your best."

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