Lady Dawgs sweep Shoemaker, set up 3-way tiebreaker tonight
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs (29-17 overall, 10-4 in District 12-6A) wrapped up regular season play with a 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-12) sweep of the Shoemaker Lady Wolves on Senior Night to put themselves in a three-way tie for second place with Belton and Ellison.
“I think they did great,” Copperas Cove head volleyball coach and girls’ coordinator Cari Lowery said of her team’s win. “This game could’ve gone either way. Shoemaker played a good game. They are very scrappy. They got a lot of things back. We did too. I saw us be scrappy and make some plays. I’m pretty pleased with it.”
The Lady Dawgs responded well from last Friday’s sweep at the hands of Bryan to get a little sweeping done of their own at home on Tuesday.
The Lady Dawgs took control early with a back-row kill by Edwards and one on the front row by Gaston to give Cove a 6-1 lead.
A block by Shoemaker’s Shami Grandison slowed Cove’s momentum but Tuiasosopo returned a block of her own to take back the momentum.
Kills by Grandison, A’Niyah Harrison and Alahna Daniels kept Shoemaker close at 15-9 before a 10-3 Cove run closed the set. A block and two kills by Gaston, aces by Cooks and Edwards, and a kill by Perez led the way for Cove.
Neither team could really take control of set two with the game staying within three points util a block Smith and kills by Gaston, Edwards and Moody helped Cove take an 19-12 lead.
A block by Angelique Gonzalez and a kill by Harrison helped Shoemaker narrow the lead to four, 22-18, but a kill by Edwards and two by Gaston closed the set 25-19.
The Lady Wolves took an early 3-1 lead in set three, led by a Grandsion kill, and the Lady Wolves kept edging out front with kills by Harrison, Trinity Cutbirth and Gonzalez for an 11-10 Shoemaker lead.
The Lady Dawgs then took over with a 15-1 run to close the match. Five kills by Edwards, along with two kills and two blocks from Gaston, led the way for the Lady Dawgs.
Seniors Jiya Edwards and Kyra Gaston combined for 27 kills to lead the Lady Dawgs to the sweep with Edwards notching 14. Sophomore Larisa Perez added six kills followed by junior Aaliyah Butler (3), senior Jamesia Moody (3), freshman Chloe Tuiasosopo (2) and junior Jakhi Smith (2).
Gaston led in blocks with seven while Tuiasosopo (3), Butler (2), Moody (2), Smith (2) and Edwards (1) accounted for the rest of Cove’s 14 blocks.
Senior Emma Wasiak led the back-row defense with 19 digs followed closely by Perez with 18. Edwards (8), Smith (5), Gaston (4), junior Alanna Hairston (2), junior Leila Cooks (2), and Butler (2) closed out Coves’ 60 digs. Cooks also had two aces to lead the way with Edwards and Wasiak chipping in one apiece.
Smith led the offense with 27 assists while Hairston added 15 and Wasiak had one.
The Copperas Cove win, paired with Ellison’s sweep of Killeen and Belton’s loss to Bryan, set up the three-way tie for the final three playoff spots. A tiebreaker playoff to determine seeding will be held tonight at Harker Heights High School with Cove and Belton playing the first game at 5:30 p.m. Ellison will then face the winner of that first match 20 minutes after its conclusion. If Ellison loses in the game two matchup, a third match will be played Saturday at 11 a.m. at the same location.
Should Cove win both tiebreakers, they would face former district rivals Midway (10-4). Two losses would put Cove up against District 11-6A Champions Mansfield (14-0) and a third-place finish would match Cove with Waxahachie (11-3).
“We’re just happy to be in the playoffs,” said Lowery. “As long as we can keep playing, we’ll keep playing…whoever we have to play.”