LDVB season ends against No. 17 Southlake Carroll; 8 Lady Dawgs named to All-District squad
By TJ MAXWELL
WEST – The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs’ 17-game win-steak came to an end in a familiar fashion. For the second-consecutive year, the Copperas Cove Lady Dawg volleyball team had their season ended at the hands of Southlake Carroll.
The Lady Dawgs never really seemed to find their normal groove Friday night in West as early errors put them in a hole they never were able to climb out of in the 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-21 sweep in the Area round of the 2017 UIL State Volleyball Playoffs Friday night at West High School.
“I felt like the team that I had to put on the floor versus the team I scouted from Southlake Carroll, I thought we matched up well,” said Copperas Cove head volleyball coach Cari Lowery. “The difference was, Southlake just has three kids in every spot to rotate in and out. If you get a handle on one or two of them, they would put somebody else in. They just had way more depth than we had. That’s just the difference between a small school in 6A and a big school.”
After falling behind 8-3 to start the Area contest against the Lady Dragons, the Lady Dawgs fought back to within two points, 19-17, when a couple more Cove errors allowed the Lady Dragons to open a four-point lead they would maintain for the remainder of the set.
Kills by junior Jada Close and senior Talia Kinslow and a block by Close helped Cove narrow the gap to five, 11-6, before kills by Carroll junior Harper Hallgren opened the lead to seven, 13-6.
The Lady Dawgs again threatened with an 8-2 run to cut the lead to two, 16-14, led by kills by junior Aidan Chace and Kinslow and a block by Kinslow.
Some back and forth action pushed the score to 19-17 before a pair of Cove miscues allowed the four-point advantage, 21-17.
A block by Chace and briefly halted the Lady Dragons’ run but four-consecutive points by Carroll made it set point at 24-19. A kill and a block by Hallgren led the way.
A kill by Chace and a lift by Carroll kept the set alive until a kill by freshman Natalie Glenn closed the set 25-21.
The second set was a battle early with six ties and four lead changes through the first 21 points for an 11-10 Carroll lead.
Attacks by Close and junior Christina Pettigrew helped Cove take a 2-1 lead before shots by Carroll’s senior Sabrina Monaco and Glenn pushed Carroll out front 6-3.
A kill by Chace, an ace by junior Aviyon Wilborn and a block by Kinslow and Close helped Cove regain the lead 9-8.
A kill by Glenn gave the lead back to Carroll, 11-10.
It was all Carroll from there.
The Lady Dragons finished the set on a 14-3 run to take the set 25-13 and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Kills by Hallgren, sophomore Annabelle Smith and Glenn; along with five Cove errors led the way in the run.
An ace by junior Mckenzie Nichols and a block by junior Raven Rolle closed the set.
Cove again took a 2-1 lead in the third set with a kill by sophomore Leah Powell and a block by Chace when a 5-1 Carroll run made a 6-3 Lady Dragon advantage.
Kills by Powell and sophomore Janice Fa’aola sparked a 7-4 Cove run to knot the game at 10-all.
Kills by Chace, Powell and Fa’aola kept Cove within striking distance at 16-15 before shots by Carroll sophomores Chloe Dorsey, Madelyn Grunza and Jayleigh Robbins pushed Carroll ahead 19-15.
Kills by Pettigrew, Chace and Powell helped Cove pull back within two, 23-21, but a kill by Smith and an ace by Robbins closed out the set 25-21 and the match 3-0.
The Lady Dawgs finished the season as District and Bi-District Champions with 38-9 overall record, 12-0 in District 8-6A.
“This team should not have had the season that it had so I think the sky is the limit for what the potential is for this group next year,” said Lowery. “They got a taste of what winning feels like. If we could have started that game over again at 8 o’clock Friday night, they would have been ready to play it again. I think we have a bright future with this group of girls.
“I’m always impressed with them but I did expect this season from this group. Everybody else didn’t but I expected it because I knew how hard they worked in the spring. I saw their commitment in the summer. I’m super proud of them. I told them as we walked out of the dressing room to ‘hold their heads up because you have nothing to be embarrassed by. You should only walk out proud of the accomplishments you’ve had this year and be proud of how hard you worked.’ Unfortunately, only one team gets to finish with a win to end the season but there were hundreds of teams that weren’t playing on Friday night and we were still playing.”
The Lady Dawgs stellar season landed eight players on the All-District team with three players and Lowery with superlatives.
Chace was named District 8-6A’s Most Valuable Player. While Powell was named the Newcomer of the Year and junior Kristen Wasiak was named Defensive Player of the Year along with Ellison’s Jaraysia Hope. Lowery was named the Coach of the Year.
Junior setter Kamryn Ash and right side hitter Kinslow were named to the First Team while middle blockers Pettigrew and Close were named to the Second Team.
Fa’aola and Wilborn received honorable mention.
All 14 players on the varsity squad, including managers Mya Watkins and Jada Glaspie, were named to the Academic All-District team. Senior Addie Cook, Close, Wilborn, Powell, Kinslow, Chace, Ash, Fa’aola, sophomore Jaela Rice, junior Holly Beamesderfer and Wasiak join Watkins and Glaspie on the list.
“I just wish we had one more game at least but I am super proud of those girls and I’m proud that the coaches in the district recognized their hard work and their commitment to each other and the sport,” said Lowery. Nobody likes to lose but two seniors on the team and three sophomores, this season could have been completely different. I’m super proud of them and super excited about what their potential is. I’m excited to get started in the offseason and get ready for 2018.”