Lady Dawgs run into buzzsaw in Mansfield in Bi-district playoffs
By TJ MAXWELL
WACO – It was a tough four-day stretch for the Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs volleyball team.
After battling their way back to a tie for second place last Tuesday, the Lady Dawgs lost in the three-way tiebreaker on Friday and ended up the fourth seed heading into the 2021 UIL State Volleyball Playoffs, pitting them against District 11-6A champions Mansfield in the opening round Monday at Robinson High School in Waco.
The Lady Dawgs had momentum on their side at several moments throughout the match, but they just could not slow down the offensive onslaught of the Lady Tigers in the 3-0 sweep (25-16, 25-6, 25-16).
The offense of senior duo Brynn Williams and Ava Roberts was especially tough for the Lady Dawgs to stop as they combined for 31 kills in the contest with Williams tallying 16 to lead the way.
Williams’ kill total was just two shy of the entire Cove total of 18 kills. She also led the way on defense with a team-high 21 digs.
Kills by Williams and sophomore Mia Clay helped the Lady Tigers take a 5-0 lead in the opening set before a kill by Cove senior Jiya Edwards and a block by senior Kyra Gaston and a pair of Mansfield miscues made it a 6-4 contest.
The Lady Tigers then took control with a 12-2 run to push their lead to 18-6. Kills by Williams, Clay, Roberts and senior Annika Demuth led the way for Mansfield.
A kill by freshman Chloe Tuiasosopo and a block by junior Aaliyah Butler temporarily halted the Mansfield run.
A kill by Cove senior Jamesia Moody was sandwiched between two Williams’ kills pushed the score to 20-9 before a serving and hitting error by the Lady Tigers narrowed the lead to nine, 20-11.
A dump kill by Mansfield senior setter Meadow Smith was answered by a Gaston kill and an ace by senior Leeann Edmond for Cove to make it an eight-point set, 21-13.
Kills by Edwards and Gaston, along with a pair of strong digs by senior libero Emma Wasiak, kept Cove in the set until a kill by Williams closed the set 25-16.
The Lady Dawgs struggled to find an answer for the Lady Tigers in the second set. A kill and an ace by Williams, a dump kill by Roberts, a kill by Clay, and a kill by Roberts after a long rally, helped the Lady Tigers jump ahead 7-0.
A block by Edwards slowed Mansfield briefly, but Cove miscues paired with an ace by senior Reegan Shoquist and a kill by Roberts, pushed Mansfield’s lead to 13-2.
A kill by Cove’s Edwards was answered by one from Mansfield’s Roberts before another kill and an ace by Roberts and a kill each from Demuth and Williams made it a 19-4 score.
A kill by Cove’s Tuiasosopo and a mishit by Mansfield made it a 19-6 game before kills by Demuth, sophomore Lauren Demuth, Williams, and Clay closed out the set 25-6.
The Lady Dawgs stayed closer in the third set with a push kill by Butler along with kills by Gaston and Edwards helped Cove pull within two 5-3 to open the set.
Mansfield responded with a pair of kills by Roberts.
Cove answered back with a kill by senior Joem Talafo and a block by Moody for a 7-5 score.
The Lady Tigers then went on another run with a kill by Roberts and three more by Williams as part of an 8-1 run.
Another dump kill by Cove’s Butler slowed the run, but Lauren Demuth returned the dump kill and Roberts poked a shot over the block attempt to help Mansfield pus their lead to 10, 18-8.
A kill by Edwards, along with a block and a kill by Gaston brought Cove within seven, 19-12, but another long rally went to the Lady Tigers on a kill by Roberts.
Gaston responded with another kill for Cove for a 21-13 score before a kill and an ace by Roberts made it a 23-13 score.
A pair of hits out wide by Mansfield and a block by Moody pushed the score to 23-16 before a pass out of bounds by Cove and a service point by Mansfield closed the set 25-16 and match 3-0.
Clay had six kills, A. Demuth (5), L. Demuth (4), junior Tyla Perry (1) and Smith (1) to round out the Mansfield offense. Sophomore Rachel Resta led in assists with 19 followed by Smith (14) and Shoquist (5).
Nine different Mansfield players registered at least three digs with Roberts adding 13, Shoquist (12) and Smith (9) following behind Williams’ 21.
Gaston led Cove’s offensive attack with seven kills followed by Edwards (5), Tuiasosopo (2) and one each from Moody, Butler, junior Ashanti Wright, and Talafo.
Gaston, Butler, and Moody all had two blocks each to lead the category with Edwards adding one.
Wasiak led the back-row defense with a game-high 23 digs, followed by Edwards (7), junior Jakhi Smith (7), junior Leila Cooks (6), Edmond (2), junior Alanna Hairston (2), Gaston (2), and Butler (1).
Smith had 11 assists to lead the Lady Dawgs while Hairston added seven.
The Lady Dawgs finish the season 28-19 overall and 10-5 in District 12-6A while the Lady Tigers improve to 32-15 overall and move on to face Rockwall-Heath in the Area Round Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Poteet High School.
The Lady Dawgs lose six seniors to graduation in Edmond, Edwards, Gaston, Moody, Talafo, and Wasiak. Hairston, Butler, Smith, sophomore Larisa Perez, Tuiasosopo, Cooks, sophomore Iliana Buitron, and Wright will lead a returning cast next year.
Lady Dawgs Basketball officially kicks off tonight; Bulldawgs begin at home on Nov. 13
The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs basketball program will officially kick off their season tonight against the Leander Lady Lions with the junior varsity tipoff set for 5 p.m. with the varsity to follow.
The Lady Dawgs are looking to rebound from their sixth-place district finish in 2001. They return seniors Samaria Bostick, Yvonna Drayton, Danielle McGriff and juniors T’Shayla Marrie and Khia Horton from last year’s squad, adding newcomers senior Jordan McGhee, junior Leila Cooks, junior Elianah Smith, soph. Shakaria Zeigler, soph. Iliana Buitron and freshman Chloe Tuiasosopo.
The Bulldawgs will be on the road for scrimmages with Leander and Waco University before returning home for the season opener against Liberty Hill on Saturday, Nov. 13. The junior varsity will tipoff off at 11:3o a.m. with the varsity to follow.