Lady Dawgs post second-consecutive program sweep to conclude non-district schedule
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Lady Dawg volleyball program closed out their non-district slate in style with their second consecutive program-wide sweep in their trouncing of the Robinson Rockettes Tuesday at Bulldawg Gymnasium in Cove.
The Lady Dawgs’ varsity was virtually unchallenged by the perennial playoff contenders Robinson in the 3-0 sweep (25-7, 25-17, 25-17) as they outscored the Rockettes by a combined 27-4 to begin the first two sets before having their only real challenge of the match in the final set.
“We’re having moments of greatness,” said Copperas Cove head volleyball coach Cari Lowery. “Robinson is a good program that goes to the playoffs every year and I thought that we controlled the match pretty much other than a little bit in game three. I don’t know what happened. We lost where we were.”
The Lady Dawgs came out firing in front of their hometown fans with a 15-1 run behind the serving of junior Kamryn Ash after allowing the Rockettes to take the first point of the contest. Junior Aidan Chace pounded down five kills and junior Christina Pettigrew added three-consecutive blocks and a kill to pace Cove to a 15-2 lead.
A kill by Robinson’s Keagan Walker briefly halted the Cove onslaught before kills by sophomore Janice Fa’aola and senior Talia Kinslow helped the Lady Dawgs pull away 21-6 on the way to a 25-7 first-set win.
Cove again shot out to a huge early lead to begin the second set. Kills by Chace; along with blocks by junior Jada Close, Chace and Pettigrew; paced the 12-2 Cove run.
Consecutive kills by Walker and sophomore Raigan Mock kick started a 10-7 Robinson run to pull the Rockettes within seven, 19-12, before an ace by Ash and a kill by sophomore Leah Powell helped Cove finish out the set 25-17 for a 2-0 match lead.
In the third and final set, neither team could take advantage of the other’s mistakes.
A kill by Robinson’s Mock, along with a kill and two blocks by Cove’s Chace paced the teams to a 4-3 score.
Robinson took their second lead of the knight two points later on a Walker kill before an ace by Powell and a kill by Chace helped Cove regain their lead, 7-5.
A kill by Pettigrew, a block by Kinslow and a kill by Powell for Cove, combined with a block by junior Kim McNew and a kill freshman Brooke Ashcraft for Robinson, pushed the Cove lead to 13-9.
Kills by Robinson’s Walker and Mock and a hit into the net by Cove knotted the game at 14-all before the Lady Dawgs raced to the sweep with an 11-3 run to close the match.
After Robinson took their third lead of the match, 14-15, a kill by Chace followed by three-consecutive kills by Fa’aola gave the Lady Dawgs a 21-16 advantage.
A pair of blocks by Pettigrew and Fa’aola and a kill by Kinslow helped close out the set 25-17 and the match 3-0.
“I thought we are controlling what we need to control and we’re getting better,” said Lowery. “Some of my younger kids like Janice (Fa’aola) really came up and had a great match tonight. She needed to have a great home match because she’s been in a panic state for every home match we’ve had. I was really proud of her. She got her nerves out.”
Fa’aola finished second in kills for Cove with eight behind Chace’s match-high 12. Pettigrew and Powell added four kills apiece to the tally. Ash led the ball handling with 18 assists and was second in aces with three behind Powell’s four. Chace was second in assists with 13.
Junior Kristen Wasiak led the defensive stats with 20 digs while Powell added 12 and Chace had 11.
Pettigrew led the defense at the net with 10 total blocks, including six solo stuffs. Junior Jada Close added two blocks as did Chace.
The junior varsity also pounded Robinson in a quick match. Cove held off the Rockettes 25-18 in set one before racing to victory with a 25-7 set two. The freshman ‘A’ squad also earned an easy with 25-9, 25-8 to complete the sweep.
The Copperas Cove Lady Dawg varsity improved to 25-8 on the season with the sweep and will reset for the start of District 8-6A action tonight in Killeen against the Lady Kangaroos of Killeen High.
Coach Lowery feels her team’s non-district schedule has them ready or the varied play to come from the district opponents.
“We’re 25-8 so we’ve played a lot of games and we have played a wide variety of teams to try and prepare the best you can for that,” she said. You never know until you’re actually in it but we try to prepare for every variation of the theme of volleyball that we’re going to see in district.”
Lowery also admits that it’s a work in progress and, with a team so young, don’t be surprised if the rotation looks a little different to begin district play.
“You never know,” Lowery said about possible changes. “We’re working on it everyday. We worked on some stuff yesterday. We had the holiday and so we got to have a good practice and we got to work on a few things and tweak a few things.
“Because we are young and inexperienced, it’s almost a new game every time. They see new things they can do and I see new things they can do. They are still pushing themselves and I’m just excited about the fact that they’re not afraid to go for it and push themselves out of their comfort zone.”
Next week, Cove will travel back to Killeen on Tuesday to face the Ellison Lady Eagles and to Belton on Friday for a match with the Lady Tigers before holding their district home opener Tuesday, Sept. 22 against the Midway Pantherettes.