From Staff Reports
The Northwest Whitfield High School volleyball team’s young lineup might not be perfect, but they’re persistent.
That made the difference as the Lady Bruins picked up a pair of victories Thursday night against rivals Coahulla Creek and Dalton at the latter’s Cats Den.
Northwest beat Coahulla Creek 23-25, 25-21, 25-21 before topping Dalton 25-20, 25-19 — Dalton beat Coahulla Creek 25-22, 25-13 in the other match — with the Lady Bruins (4-0) getting better as the night went on, coach Jennifer Quinn said.
“Our girls didn’t play very well the first game (against Coahulla Creek),” she said. “... They just didn’t play our game. They weren’t really running an offense, they were just getting the ball back. But in games 2 and 3, they started running our offense more and being more aggressive on defense, and that kind of led into the Dalton match.”
The Lady Bruins still weren’t communicating as well as they had in a pair of season-opening victories at home on Tuesday, Quinn said, but that was better by the final game against the Lady Catamounts (1-1) as well.
“We did find our way,” Quinn said. “That showed me they’ll work hard and battle to come back.”
A trio of sophomores topped the stat sheet for the Lady Bruins in the pair of wins, with middle hitter/blocker Mary Kate Allen finishing with eight kills and seven blocks, outside hitter Peyton Maret adding seven kills and setter Whitley Brooker contributing 15 assists.
Quinn said her team was excited by the win against Dalton, and the Lady Bruins coach is excited about her team.
“They are very motivated and very driven by the sport,” she said. “They’re very positive on and off the court. We have a really good focus this season — we’re focused on teamwork and just building the program.”
Dalton’s standouts for the night were Lyndsey Parker (24 assists), Katie Wilson (15 assists), Hannah Cox (13 kills), Ashleigh Peters (12 kills) and Alejandra Fraire (seven kills).
The Lady Cats, who are a perennial presence in the postseason, are working to fill the gaps left by last year’s good senior class.
“It is early in the season and we have to get our feet underneath us,” Lady Cats coach Joey Wills said. “We just made too many unforced errors, and we need to correct them.
“There was a big crowd tonight and it was great to see all of the people coming out to support volleyball in the area.”
Leading contributors for Coahulla Creek (0-2) in the tri-match were Macey Fossett (three kills, 18 assists); Gabrielle Henderson (five kills, three digs); Khenidi Pippin (three aces, three kills, one dig); and Nikki Ross (four kills, two blocks).
Lady Colts coach Julie Norton said she hopes for better consistency from her squad in the future.
“Also, we’re going to try to work on becoming finishers,” she said. “A lot of times we keep it in play, but we don’t finish by killing the ball.”
• Southeast Whitfield, a Class 4A state semifinalist in 2012, opened its season with a pair of losses on the road, falling 25-16, 25-22 to Riverwood and 25-14, 25-20 to host North Cobb.
Leading contributors for the Lady Raiders were Yasmeen Paloblanco (23 digs), Wendy Perez (nine kills, six blocks), Angie Purkey (13 assists, 16 digs) and Serena Ramsey (six kills).
• North Murray split a pair of matches at Heritage-Catoosa, losing 25-7, 25-13 to the host Lady Generals but topping LaFayette 25-16, 23-25, 25-21 to move to 2-2 overall.
Lady Mountaineers coach Connie Hudgins said Hayley Hart, Grace Phillips and Erin Robinson all played well, but she did not have statistical totals available.
• Murray County dropped a pair of matches on the road in its first night of action for the 2013 season, falling 25-7, 25-13 to Darlington and 25-8, 25-18 to host Ringgold.
Alex Johnson’s 13-assist effort led the way for the Lady Indians in the tri-match. Other leading contributors were Heidy Cabral (nine assists), Keona Brinkman (two blocks, two kills), Taylor Simmons (three digs) and Tiffany Markey (two digs).
• Northwest’s junior varsity squad, which is made up of five eighth-graders and five freshmen, picked up a pair of wins to improve to 3-0.
The Lady Bruins topped Coahulla Creek 25-14, 20-25, 25-23 and beat Dalton 25-18, 25-13 behind strong efforts from MaLane Kyer and Holly Heath. Kyer had eight assists, six aces and a pair of kills, while Heath chipped in nine aces and four kills.
• Southeast 4, Rome 0: Two days after pounding the Lady Wolves 18-0 on the road, Southeast had a much closer game with the same final result — a “W” for the host Lady Raiders.
Chaya Drury and Maranda Bates both blasted solo homers, while Sydney Covington pitched a complete-game two hitter for Southeast (5-3).
It was the second homer in as many games for Drury, who hit her shot in the bottom of the fifth. Bates’ homer came in the fourth, and she finished with a pair of RBIs.
Lady Raiders coach Kelley Barton said Covington and fellow starting pitcher Kara Headrick have both done well so far, and they’ve had the hitting to back them.
“We are doing well with the lineup and I think that I have a lineup that is coming through,” Barton said. “I have been very pleased with the team effort.”
Headrick was 3-for-3, while Emily Beck finished 2-for-3.
• Ringgold 4, North Murray 0: The Lady Mountaineers suffered their second straight road loss to start the season and dropped their Region 5-3A opener in the process.
Megan Pittman had two of three hits for North Murray, which lost by one run Tuesday at Union County.
Kara Deal took the loss against Ringgold, allowing all four runs — three were earned — on five hits and six walks while striking out a pair of batters. The Lady Tigers scored one run each in the second and fifth innings and got their other two on a home run in the third.
• Northwest JV 5, Gordon Lee 4: Alyssa Ward went 3-for-4 with a pair of stolen bases and as many runs scored while leading the Lady Bruins’ nine-hit attack in a season-opening win in Chickamauga.
Kayla Bearden picked up the win in the circle, allowing seven hits and three walks while striking out three in a complete-game effort. All of Gordon Lee’s runs were earned.