County teams battle in White Oak
If a team was searching for some excellent competition, they wouldn’t have to look much further than White Oak High School last week.The Lady Panthers of Alba-Golden and Quitman’s Lady Bulldogs joined a bracket at the Sheryl Atkins Memorial Tournament which also included teams from Carthage, Hallsville, Henderson, North Lamar, Queen City and Texas High.
County teams battle in White Oak
If a team was searching for some excellent competition, they wouldn’t have to look much further than White Oak High School last week. The Lady Panthers of Alba-Golden and Quitman’s Lady Bulldogs joined a bracket at the Sheryl Atkins Memorial Tournament which also included teams from Carthage, Hallsville, Henderson, North Lamar, Queen City and Texas High.
The Lady Bulldogs began action last Friday with an 8:30 a.m. match-up against a high-flying Henderson team.
After an initial wake-up call which saw Quitman go down 4-1, the Lady Bulldogs began to attack. Two precise scores from the left wing by Allie Berry – one kill and one drop shot – and a beauty of a drop shot by Autumn Cason began to close the margin.
A kill off of a block from the arm of Addison Marcee and yet another score from Berry made the score 12-10, Henderson, at the halfway mark.
The Lady Bulldogs were playing excellent positional volleyball, covering the floor with anticipation and quickness. The highlight of that first game was a very long passage of play, which seemed to teeter toward Henderson on a couple of occasions. The Lady Bulldogs just kept competing and eventually turned the play for a Quitman score when Berry played an exquisite drop shot.
In the late stages, however, Quitman mustered only two offensive points for the remainder of the game. Although they hoovered just off the lead for the rest of the game, it was the relentless offensive punching of Henderson which took game one, 25-18.
The danger in facing top quality opposition is a simple one – regaining the initiative. Volleyball has a way of suffocating the team which is trailing. Henderson is a good team, and they suffocated Quitman in the second game, not allowing the Lady Bulldogs to regain service, much less recapture the momentum. The Lady Bulldogs dropped the second game 25-8.
There was an array of positive learning points from that initial Friday morning match. Positioning, rotations, attack technique and setting were strongpoints for the Lady Bulldogs. Of specific note, turning the flow of play back toward the attack will surely be high on Quitman’s agenda, post-tourney.
The Alba-Golden Lady Panthers faced a similar situation in their first match of the tourney, a 9:30 a.m. showdown against Queen City. Queen City’s line-up featured a number of girls with great leaping ability and a laser-like scoring stroke.
The Lady Panthers proved that they were capable as well. In the early going, scoring strikes by Hailey Crutchfield and Kalli Trimble combined with two aces by Lainey Wright to close the score to 10-8.
The Lady Panthers were hitting a nice pace of play and never allowed Queen City to open much of a lead
Though all Lady Panthers contributed, two impactful plays at the net by Lainey Teel squared the first game at 14. She emphatically blocked a Queen City attack to draw within a point. Then a strong kill shot tied the game.
Game one was contested to the end. Another block by Teel knotted the game at 23. Alba-Golden had put all the pressure on the Queen City side of the court, and the Lady Panthers took the first game 25-23.
The trend seemed to continue in game two, as the Lady Panthers jetted out to a 6-0 lead. Queen City promptly came back and scored eight consecutive points.
Trailing 9-7, Alba-Golden called time-out. It was not enough to stem the surge of Queen City. The Lady Panthers managed only six more service attempts in game two as they fell 25-14.
Once in rhythm, Queen City did not relent. They built a 10-point margin in the tie-breaker and went on to win 25-11.
Alba-Golden went on to take the consolation bracket with a victory over Elysian Fields.