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Waxahachie leaves with three-game win over Lady Lions

Ennis’ focus now shifts to playoff contest
Tuesday night wasn’t a good one for Lady Lion volleyball, but fortunately Ennis lives to play another day.
In the 16-4A finale for both teams, the Waxahachie Indians topped the host Lady Lions (18-6, 8-6) in three games: 25-19, 25-22 and 25-19. Neither squad played particularly well, but Waxahachie had at least one big run in each game to achieve the sweep as both teams gear up for the postseason.
“We felt so strongly about winning this match; I’m a little surprised that we didn’t play better tonight,” said coach Kim Vernor.
“You hate to lose a match where you think there was a good possibility you could’ve won. We had a lot of hitting errors and bad decision making at times. Late in the match, we didn’t serve as well as we could’ve.”
Seniors Tina Anderson (six kills, nine digs, three aces, two blocks), Carli Bragg (eight kills, 12 digs, two aces, block), Ashley Lewis (five kills, two digs, two aces, block) and Lauren Hodges (21 assists, three kills, dig) each played their final regular-season match for Ennis. The team also received contributions from Allie Rokas (five kills, three digs, ace), Morgan Nichols (two kills, dig, block, assist, ace) and Sharna Polk (eight digs).
Thanks to an Anderson tip and a Bragg kill, the Lady Lions hung tight early at 4-4. Waxahachie then erupted on an 8-0 run, but five of the points were due to Lady Lion hitting errors and a sixth came when Ennis got out of the correct rotation.
The Lady Lions essentially treaded water to 12-19 as Bragg (two aces, kill) and Lewis (block, ace) made some plays. Behind four-straight service points from Rokas (ace), Ennis made a spirited charge to 17-20, but five of the game’s final seven points were kills for the Indians (19-25) as they attacked Ennis’ back corner with great success. Beyond going after every dig she could, Anderson tallied four kills in the opening game.
“Trailing by a couple of points is one thing, but when you’re faced with big deficits it takes so much out of you to make a comeback,” Vernor said.
“We expected [Waxahachie] to attack us back there, but we didn’t cover it up until late in the match even though we tried. Sometimes it’s difficult to make those adjustments within the match because we don’t have as much experience as some teams.
“Waxahachie’s hitters are also very powerful and we didn’t react like we needed to defensively. We probably could’ve set Tina a little more because her net play was very good tonight.”
Ennis stayed close through the early stages of game two to 9-11 as Bragg (two kills) and Lewis (kill, tip) had positive starts once again. Bragg changed things up a bit as she delivered some left-handed kills.
“Anytime the set is a little outside, it’s a lot easier for Carli to go with her left hand and it throws the blockers off,” Vernor said.
“Allie also had a couple of hits like that tonight and they worked out for us.”
The big run for Waxahachie in this game was a 9-2 spurt for a 20-11 lead. Five of those points were off Ennis miscues.
Returning the favor, the Indians went through a terrible stretch of play with a half-dozen errors as the Lady Lions closed the gap to 18-22. Ennis hung around on game point for quite a while as Waxahachie inexplicably lost consecutive points for getting out of its rotation, but a kill put the game away (22-25).
Hodges did a good job late in the game as she caught the Indians off guard with a couple of tips.
“Anytime an opponent has some mental errors you want to take advantage of it and that’s going to come back to bite [Waxahachie] in the playoffs,” Vernor said.
“We had the same issues at times. Lauren really did well to get as many kills off tips as she did. When they brought multiple blockers, she was ready for it.”
Ennis probably played its best early in game three for a 6-2 advantage. Nichols, Anderson (two aces) and Bragg (kill) all had blocks during that time as Anderson reeled off four-straight service points.
“Tina did have an excellent serving night,” the coach said.
“She was picking on their right back-row defender and it was obviously a good place to attack. Outside of a few net violations, Tina really had a good all-around match.”
The Lady Lions continued to make plays at the net on the way to 11-6 with Nichols (kill), Lewis (kill, tip), Hodges (tip) and Rokas (tip) all getting involved. Waxahachie then went on a 9-0 run, including four points off Ennis errors.
The Lady Lions didn’t go quietly, battling their way to 18-18 behind three-straight Lewis service points (ace) along with plays by Anderson (tip) and Bragg (kill). The final-eight points saw a 7-1 Waxahachie run with four Ennis errors, including another instance of the Lady Lions being in the wrong rotation – a problem that plagued Waxahachie in the win (19-25).
“We did change our passing scheme, but those were just mental errors when we got out of our rotation,” Vernor said.
“I haven’t ever seen it happen to both teams that often.”
Ennis will now prepare for a bi-district match with 15-4A winner Red Oak sometime early next week.
“There are definitely some things we can work on improving defensively; it’s just a matter of whether or not we have enough time to get those changes ingrained in their minds,” the coach said.
“The little things that have given us problems all year are just magnified when you’re playing good teams, so we’ll try to get to work on fixing them.”

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Posted by on Oct 29 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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