No. 5 Lady Dawgs lose five-set stunner to Pantherettes
By TJ MAXWELL
Little mistakes can compound into big ones.
That was the case for the no. 5 Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs volleyball team in their 3-2 loss to the Midway Pantherettes Tuesday at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
The Lady Dawgs had several match points in set four before the Pantherettes rallied to knot the match at two sets apiece after huge kills by seniors Kaitlyn Hankins and Hannah Langerman notched the final four points for the Pantherettes for a 26-24 win in game four to set up the deciding fifth set.
Cove nearly suffered the same fate in set five as they were two points away from securing the set when another huge kill by Langerman gave Midway a 14-13 lead then a serve receive error by Cove gave Midway the win.
Neither team could get the edge in the early goings as they tied at almost every point of the first set until a kill by junior Janice Fa’aola and a pair of Midway errors helped Cove take a 15-12 advantage.
Kills by senior Shelby Saul and Hankins knotted the set at 15-all for the Pantherettes before two more Midway errors and a block by Cove senior Jada Close and junior Leah Powell made it an 18-15 advantage for Cove.
Consecutive kills by Hankins and a defensive swat by Langerman knotted the set at 19-all.
A block by Cove senior Christina Pettigrew gave Cove a 21-19 lead before four dumps and an ace helped Midway finish on a 6-1 run to take the first set 25-22.
Cove seemingly woke from their slumber as they rocketed out to an 11-3 lead in the second set on the way to a 25-17 win to knot the match at one set each.
Three kills by senior Aidan Chace off of assists by senior Kamryn Ash along with a block and a kill by Close helped Cove to a 10-2 lead.
Another block by Close and a kill by Powell helped Cove fight off a Midway rally to maintain their eight-point lead, 13-5.
A dump by Saul and an ace by senior Hannah Miars pulled Midway within six, 15-9, but that was as close as they would get in the set.
Kills by Fa’aola, junior Jaela Rice and Chace pushed the Cove lead to eight, 20-12.
A kill by Hankins got Midway within six one last time before a push by Rice and kills by Powell and Fa’aola ended the set 25-17.
The Lady Dawgs again jumped out to a quick start in set three with an ace by Ash and a kill by Chace for a 3-0 lead and kept that early edge with blocks by Close and Rice and kills by Powell and Pettigrew. A dump by Midway senior Jayci Edwards, a cross-court kill by senior Madison Smith and a few Cove errors allowed Midway to take a 14-23 lead.
Back-to-back blocks by Chace then helped Cove regain an 18-14 advantage before a kill by Powell to end a long rally and a kill by Chace made it a 20-14 advantage for Cove.
Midway fought to stay in the set but kills by Powell and Pettigrew gave Cove the 2-1 advantage in the match.
A pair of dumps by Chace and Close, along with a kill by Powell gave Cove a 6-3 lead. Kills by Fa’aola, Powell and Chace and a block by Pettigrew helped Cove grow that lead to six, 20-14.
Cove miscues and a pair of kills by Hankins and junior Reese Rhodes pulled Midway within two, 21-19, before a kill by Fa’aola and a block by Close pushed Cove’s lead back to three, 23-20.
A Midway net violation gave Cove set-point at 24-22 before the four-straight points by Midway ended the set 26-24 and knotted the match at two games each.
Cove again took the early advantage in the deciding set behind kills by Fa’aola, Chace and Close for a 7-4 lead in the race to 15.
A kill by Hankins, along with a dump and an ace by Rhodes, knotted the set at 10-all.
Cove again edged out front 13-12 with kills by Close and an attack by Fa’aola, but a dump and a kill by Langerman gave Midwat mathc-point and a serve receive error by Cove gave the Pantherettes the set, 15-13, and the match 3-2.
Three Lady Dawgs finished with double-digit kills, led by Powell with 19. Chace chipped in 13 and Fa’aola notched a dozen.
Ash led the Lady Dawgs in assists with 41 and Chace followed with 14. Ash also had two aces to lead the squad.
Five different Lady Dawgs registered doubled-digit digs in the match despite the team combining for 57 digging errors and 18 serve-receive errors in the loss.
Senior Kristen Wasiak had 28 digs and 23 dig errors to lead the team in each category. Senior Aviyon Wilborn (17-9), Powell (17-8), Chace (13-8) and Ash (11-1) rounded out the category.
Close had six blocks to lead the front-row defense and Pettigrew chipped in four.
Hankins led the Pantherettes with 14 kills while Langerman (11), Rhodes (9) and Saul (8) added to the Midway tally.
The Lady Dawgs (29-2 overall, 5-1 in District 12-6A action) look to restart their win-streak with a road win at Belton tonight with the first serve set for 5:30 p.m.
The Pantherettes (20-12, 5-0) look to hold onto their district lead win they travel to Killeen to face the Lady Kangaroos.