Lady Dawgs dominate Lady Roos in regular-season finale

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

KILLEEN - The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs’ volleyball team finished their regular season strong with a sweep of the Killeen Lady Kangaroos Tuesday night in Killeen.
The Lady Dawgs allowed just 14 points to the Lady Roos in the match in a 25-3, 25-9, 25-2 sweep to improve to 39-3 overall and 16-2 in District 12-6A action and secure the no. 2 seed in the playoffs.
“I’m proud of them,” said Copperas Cove head coach Cari Lowery. “We passed the ball well and they were talking. It was the first time they’ve been on the floor since I moved my defense. We just needed to get on the floor in that formation.”
Despite another reworking of the defense by Lowery, stemming from the injury to senior libero Kristen Wasiak, the Lady Dawgs controlled the match from the opening tip.
“I made some more changes this week,” said Copperas Cove head coach Cari Lowery. “I moved my defense around again on Saturday. We’re going to need that game on Friday to get the opportunity to practice that a little bit more. 
“I’m excited about what the potential is but our learning curve has got to be quick.”
Kills by junior Janice Fa’aola and seniors Aidan Chace and Jada Close helped the Lady Dawgs jump out to an 11-0 lead before a kill by Killeen senior Da’Via McIver broke the shutout in game one.
Junior Leah Powell got in on the action with a couple kills to help the Cove lead grow to 19-3 before a strong block by senior Christina Pettigrew gave the Lady Dawgs a 20-3 lead on the way to a 25-3 set-one win.
The Lady Roos kept it close early in set two with kills by McIver and senior Takara Everett and a pair of Cove miscues that made it 9-5 after four-consecutive points by Cove to begin the set. 
The Lady Dawgs then exploded on a 16-4 run, including a 7-0 run to close the set, to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Kills by Pettigrew, Fa’aola and Close led the way for Cove.
It was all Cove again in the final set as they reeled off nine-consecutive points before a mishit put the Lady Roos on the board 9-1. Cove finished on a 16-1 run to take set three 25-2.
Chace and Close led the offensive attack for Cove with 10 kills each while Powell and Fa’aola added eight each as eight different Lady Dawgs registered at least one kill on the night.
Ash led the way in assists with 37 and tied for the lead in aces with two.
Wilborn led the back-row defense with 16 digs while Powell added 10.
Chace also lead in blocks with five while Close and Pettigrew added four apiece.
The Lady Dawgs’ third season – the playoffs – begins tonight with a warm-up game against the Class 5A Hutto Lady Hippos. 
The Lady Dawgs should get a good representation of what they’ll see in the playoffs in their warm-up game against the Class 5A’s 11th-ranked team in the Lady Hippos.
The Lady Hippos are led by a trio of seniors at the net with Kylee Becker leading in kills with 245, followed by Presley Jolly (160) and Cadi Boyer (159). 
Setting up all that offense is senior setter Shelby Lewis with 313 assists and freshman Emma Becker with 284.
Kylee Becker also leads a foursome of defenders in digs with 231, followed by senior libero Heather Haberer (204), Jolly (197) and Emma Becker (149).
Boyer leads the defense at the net with 69 blocks, followed by junior Dashia Williams with 39. The senior Becker also leads in aces with 29 with Lewis trailing at 28.
The Lady Hippos enter tonight’s warm-up game with a 36-8 overall record, 12-0 in District 18-5A.
Chace leads the Lady Dawgs into tonight’s contest with a team-high 408 kills followed by Powell (295), Fa’aola (286), Close (192) and Pettigrew (158).
Senior Kamryn Ash leads the offense with 949 assists while Chace chips in 393 more.
Powell comes in with 413 digs to lead the Cove defense with the absence of Wasiak (510). Chace follows with 313, followed by senior libero Aviyon Wilborn (283), Ash (195) and Fa’aola (133). 
Pettigrew and Close lead the front-line defense with 169 and 152 blocks, respectively. Close also has 50 aces to lead the squad with Ash chipping in 48. 
Coach Lowery hopes to have her team ready for Horn on Tuesday.
“We need to get this down,” Lowery said of her revamped defense. “We need to talk a little more on the floor. I noticed we were a bit nervous when the game first started. 
“They’ve got some big hitters, they’ve got a good libero and we just have to click, and we have to click now.”
Either way, Lowery is proud of what her team accomplished in another stellar season this year.
“They are great kids, they work super-hard for me, they are focused, and they trust me. There are teams that would freak out if their coach came in after 41 games into the season and say, ‘what you’ve been doing, scrap that. We’re moving on.’
“Win, lose or draw, what more can you ask for. They are awesome kids and they deserve every bit of success they are capable of achieving.”
 

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