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Lady Lions pounce on Panthers during debut in new gym

Ennis’ stellar start continues with 6-0 record
Lady Lion volleyball coach Kim Vernor expected her team to be very successful in the early stages of the ’08 season and the players are making it happen thus far.
Ennis moved to 6-0 on the season Friday with a three-game sweep of the Maypearl Panthers: 25-14, 25-18 and 25-20. In their home opener with a rowdy crowd in the new gym, the Lady Lions gave the fans something to cheer about.
“I definitely hoped to win our opener in the new gym and knew Maypearl would be fairly competitive,” Vernor said.
“They tested us at times, but I’m proud of the way we played. We’re building confidence right now and working on some new things during the matches to get better.”
The evening marked the season debut of senior Tina Anderson and she didn’t disappoint with an outstanding all-around performance.
“It was very exciting out there with everybody coming out to see the new gym and we had a chance to prove ourselves,” Anderson said.
“We knew a lot of people wanted to check out the gym and it was important for us to show them that we’re worth coming to see. We played our hardest and it was fun for me to get back out on the court. I’m proud of the way our team did before I made it back.”
The senior hitting trio of Anderson (10 kills, three digs, assist, seven blocks), Ashley Lewis (10 kills, three aces, two digs, three blocks) and Carli Bragg (eight kills, three digs, ace, two blocks) was impressive. They had plenty of support from Lauren Hodges (30 assists, three kills, two aces, dig), Allie Rokas (four kills), Morgan Nichols (two assists, kill), Sharna Polk (three digs), Shirlanaca Wilson (kill) and Jennifer Maliska (dig).
Game one was close early until Bragg and Anderson each ran off three-straight service points. Leading 12-4 by that point, Hodges (two tips) and Bragg (kill, ace) both started fast.
Lewis had three kills in the span of eight points as Maliska reeled off six-straight service points for a 22-9 cushion. Anderson went on a tear during that time with three kills and a tip over seven points. Hodges made a great dig on the final point as Maypearl hit the ball out.
“Jennifer was right where she was supposed to be defensively and getting the ball to Lauren where she could give us a good set,” Vernor said.
“We had solid play from everyone on the back row tonight. Tina is a natural gamer and she found some [hitting] holes on the court right after I talked about it during the match.”
Playing alongside Lewis and Bragg among others, Tina loved what she saw from Ennis at the net.
“We have a lot of power and options for hitting and it’s wonderful to see everyone contributing,” Anderson said.
Though the Lady Lions fell behind 0-7 in game two, they didn’t take long to turn the tide and take an 11-8 lead. A couple of serving streaks didn’t hurt matters and Lewis was sensational during the comeback. In the span of 12 points, Ashley rolled up three aces, two kills and two blocks.
“Ashley is playing all the way around and she can get in a groove to dominate,” Vernor said.
Anderson rose up at the net with three blocks over the course of seven points for a 15-11 advantage. During that time, she had a great save, as did Polk and Bragg. All of the team’s big hitters tallied a kill down the stretch, including one from Bragg to close the game out.
“Our second games have been an issue, but we showed the ability to get on a roll after one good play,” Vernor said.
“You don’t want to drop a game and let Maypearl back in it.”
Four-straight Bragg service points helped Ennis get out to a 10-4 lead in game three as she, Nichols, Rokas (two) and Anderson (two) all had kills. Anderson had a fantastic sequence during a single point where she followed her own consecutive blocks with a kill.
Lewis had another run with three kills over eight points for an 18-13 Lady Lion lead. One of her kills was preceded by her own block while another followed her own dig. A Hodges ace was a welcome sight as well.
“We need Allie and Morgan hitting well, because you don’t want to have a weak spot on the floor,” Vernor said.
“Lauren’s setting was good for the most part; we’re still working on the faster attack at the net. She’ll get it.”
After a great sequence in each of the first-two games, Anderson made it three for three to close out the match. Over six points, she tallied two blocks, a tip and a kill.
“We’ve made a lot of progress to be able to beat most of these teams in three games and we fought hard to do it,” Anderson said.
“It’s difficult, but I just try to sacrifice myself and do everything I can on the court.”
Ennis will now host Terrell and Eustace on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
“We need to play smart next week and keep working on our faster offense,” Vernor said.
“Starting 6-0 sounds great.”

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Posted by on Aug 25 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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