By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
EUSTACE-It was a bittersweet night of victory Aug. 11 when the Eustace Lady Bulldogs won the first two matches of the season against Athens and Mildred at E.L. Kirk Gymnasium, but also lost a key player to injury.
The injury came near the end of the first set against Athens, with the Lady Bulldogs leading 23-14. Senior hitter Kacey Lopez went up for the ball, but came down in pain. She was removed from the game and taken into observation. Her status is unknown at press time.
The loss of Lopez hurt, but the Lady Bulldogs didn’t give up. Eustace went on to win the first game 25-18, then finished the sweep by scoring decisive victories of 25-13 and 25-15.
The Lady Bulldogs second victory of the night came at the expense of Mildred. Eustace also won that contest soundly, with scores of 25-14, 25-16, and 25-17.
Eva Barcenas scored two aces to lead the match and pitched in two digs. Erica Hoops netted four kills, and Jessica Plunk added an ace and two kills. Kelsie Richmond helped with two digs, while Marshalla Padgett had an ace, and four kills. Michelle Gomez had four kills, .5 blocks and an assist. Reece Throne added an ace, one kill, one dig and set up nearly every point with her 23 assists. Sydee Wynn was the big up front, coming through with 10 kills and three blocks. Zoie Bailey chipped in with one service ace.
The JV “A” team defeated both Athens and Mildred in two games, and the JV “B” team defeated Mildred in 3 sets and lost to Athens in three sets.
The Lady Bulldogs next action will be in Van for the Van Tournament Aug. 14-15. After the tournament they return to Eustace for a dual match battling Edgewood and Kemp Aug. 18.
Posted by : August 16, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
Posted by : August 13, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
MABANK–Scrimmage and preseason sports contests are played so teams can get their synergy and teamwork firing on all cylinders by the time they face district opponents.
This is no exception for the Mabank Lady Panthers, who faced against five opposing high schools in volleyball scrimmages last weekend. The girls in green hosted Palmer and Edgewood on Friday, Aug. 7, then traveled to Wills Point and tested their skills against Greenville, Sulphur Springs and Wills Point on Aug. 8.
The Lady Panthers looked good on Friday, staying one step ahead of both Palmer and Edgewood. In the Edgewood game both teams managed some impressive back-and-forth extended volleys, but Mabank committed fewer unforced errors and spent considerable more time serving than it did receiving.
On Saturday, the Lady Panthers faced sharper opponents and found themselves trying to keep up with faster paced games. Head Coach Stacy Shelton said some members of the team aren’t used to the varsity level of play yet.
“We are still trying to find that right six person unit that synergies out there,” Shelton said. “We’ve got our main three settled, but the rest of the team is still being decided.”
The “main three” that Shelton referred to are seniors Payton Costlow and Miranda Gonzales, and sophomore Kailey Currington. These girls make up the Mabank Lady Panther core – the final three spots are still up for contention. Shelton says finding that right mix to match with the main three doesn’t necessarily mean taking current players out of the lineup.
“Sometimes finding the right synergy is as simple as moving two girls that normally play next to each other a spot or two away,” she said. “Small changes like that can often open up communication gaps and improve the whole unit.
No matter what Shelton does to fill out the starting six, she is confident in her returning core.
“Payton and Miranda are used to the fast pace of the game because they played last year,” Shelton said. “Kailey plays club ball all year long so she is up to par as well. The other girls only play season to season because they’re involved in other sports and came up from JV. Once they get used to the speed of the game I think we’ll be fine.”
Mabank is also trying to make up for the loss of last year’s setter, Meagan Holyfield. Shelton often referred to Holyfield as her “quarterback” for her role facilitating the passing game. Holyfield’s graduation has left a void in the offense that will take time to fill.
“Right now we are struggling with our setting,” Shelton said. “I’ve tried out a couple of new players at the position and I have not decided who will start yet.”
Shelton cited defense (back row players) as a current strength of the team.
“Defensively, Miranda Gonzales and Lauren Thomas are doing a good job,” she said.
Shelton also said the Lady Panthers need to do a better job controlling the flow of the game.
“On Saturday we would go on a nice run, scoring eight consecutive points, only to lose momentum and let them score six in a row afterward. Volleyball is a game of rally scoring and momentum, so we need to keep it and not let our opponents back in the game,” she said. “The good news is that all of our mistakes are fixable. I don’t care if we lose scrimmages or drop some preseason games, as long as we have it right by district.”
Posted by : August 6, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–The Lady Yellowjacket volleyball teams met for the first day of practice in the high school gymnasium Aug. 3 and Head Coach Liz Henning is excited to bring back nearly the entire squad from last year.
“We get to build on everything we learned last year,” third-year Kemp coach Henning said. “Things didn’t end the way we had hoped last year, but we are going to be much stronger now with all the experience we gained.”
The Lady ’Jackets were a largely young group last year, consisting of mostly sophomores. The young team didn’t fair well in the standings but will now have a heads up on the competition in terms of teamwork and familiarity. Kemp didn’t lose any players to graduation, but one player moved. Now a year wiser and more experienced, they are motivated to reach new highs.
“I keep reminding the girls that they need a volleyball (district championship) banner on the wall,” Henning said. “It helps get them motivated to be their best.”
Thirty girls reported to the first day of practice — roughly 10 players each for varsity, junior varsity and the freshman team.
“They ran a half a mile this morning before they hit the weight room and started volleyball drills.” Henning said.
While the players on the girls teams remain largely unchanged, nearly the entire coaching staff has been recycled.
“My coaching staff is brand new.” Henning said.
New to Kemp are coaches Chris Chase, who has eight years of experience, most recently from Abilene Cooper. Also new is Brittany Scott, with three years of coaching experience from Boyd Elementary School. First year coaches Lacy Jenson and Leigh Anne Lambert come from Venice High School (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Grand Saline; and Megan Cullum brings four years of experience from Cumby High School.
With the new crop of coaches, there will be a fresh slate to shape the freshmen and middle school teams.
“I’m excited about our freshman team,” Henning said. “They did well last year, finishing second in district. They will be a solid core for the next four years at Kemp High School and I look forward to them rising to the occasion. They did well in other sports, including basketball and track.”
Key players coming back to the varsity squad include seniors outside hitter Lucy Anderson, right side Madison Thompson, middle Cortney Crapanzano and juniors middle Hannah Hosch, setter Emily Mullens and libero Sarah Farley.
The first scrimmage of the year is this Friday against Midlothian.
“The girls are ready to get playing,” Henning said. “They did summer workouts in June and July and attended a camp at TVCC in June. We even hosted a summer league with Mabank and competed against Athens, Scurry, Canton and Mabank.”