By Erik Walsh
Monitor Photo/Summer Simpson
Marshalla Padgett (right) dives to the ground, scoring a dig for Eustace and keeping the a volley alive Oct. 7 in a home match against Troup. Makenzie Abbott (left) stands ready to assist on Padgett’s play. Eustace lost the match three games to one.
Monitor Spots Editor
EUSTACE–The Eustace Lady Bulldogs couldn’t overcome costly errors in the crucial second set and were defeated by district rival Troup Oct. 7.
Troup (7-1 in district) came out strong in the first set, winning convincingly 25-15. A slew of unforced errors were too much for Eustace (4-4) to overcome in the second set and Troup won that one too, 26-24. The Lady Bulldogs fought back and won the third set 25-19 before losing the fourth set 25-17 to finalize the match loss.
Eustace Head Coach Chuck Powers thought the second set held the defining plays of the match.
“We gave away too many points,” Powers said. “I think if we won that set it could have changed the entire flow of the night. The bottom line is we gave away too many unforced turnovers. It’s been our problem all year. The kids are playing hard and hustling, but are making too many silly mistakes.”
Powers said the Lady Bulldogs’ opponents are averaging 16 points each set from Eustace’s unforced errors.
“We haven’t lost even one set this year by 16 points,” he said. “If we took better care of the ball, the district standing would have a much different landscape.”
The loss moves Eustace to a tie with Frankston for the fourth and final playoff spot in District 18-3A. Eustace volleyball has played in the postseason for 12 consecutive years through several different UIL classifications.
Abra Roberts led Eustace servers with seven aces and tied for the team lead with nine assists along with Ashley Purselley. Purselley added five aces to the cause. Grace Holcombe had two aces, one assist and one dig; Kasey Lopez had three kills and one dig; Makenzie Abbott had three aces, four kills, and two digs; Marshalla Padgett had one ace, four kills and four digs; Michelle Gomez had a team-leading six kills and one dig; Taylor Peebles had two kills and one dig and Whitney Boerner had one dig.
It’s very important to Eustace to not just claim the fourth playoff spot to keep the tradition alive, but climb to the third spot that is currently held by Mildred with a 6-2 record.
“After the first round of district games were over, we decided our goal was to reach third place in the district,” Powers said. “The fourth place team will play against powerhouse White Oak in the playoffs and we want to avoid that.”
Powers said that goal is still within the Lady Bulldog’s reach.
“We let this one slip away, but we can still do it if we defeat Mildred and upset Arp in our coming games,” he said. “We will need to be on our game when we face Frankston again. Just because we beat them once, doesn’t mean it’s an automatic win.”