Lady Cavs making big progress

Published 8:57 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lakeland’s only two matches into its girls volleyball season, but the Lady Cavaliers are already way ahead of where they were last season.

In 2008, the Lady Cavs went winless and without winning a set through 18 matches. With a five-set win against city rival King’s Fork to start the season on Thursday, and even during a four-set loss on Tuesday at home against Oscar Smith, Lakeland’s moving in the right direction under new head coach Teri Tucker.

“I feel we’re leaps and bounds ahead of last year,” said Tucker, who said the differences are coming both through the results on the scoreboard, but also in the team’s attitude toward everything from at practices each day to when things start slipping in a match.

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“We might not win every game, but we’re going to be competitive,” said Tucker.

Last Thursday against the Lady Bulldogs, the first two sets went to King’s Fork before a huge rally by Lakeland.

Oscar Smith took the first set on Tuesday despite Lakeland getting out to a big lead at the start. Lakeland showed some of the same competitiveness by taking game two, but the Lady Cavs were unable to keep that level of play as Oscar Smith went on to win.

Lakeland scored the first six points of the match, including two aces by Rebecca Warren. Oscar Smith answered and tied the first set by 9-9 and went on to slowly build its lead from there.

Set two was a back-and-forth contest. With three straight service points by Porshe Garner, Lakeland took a 6-4 lead.

Lakeland stayed in front until Oscar Smith went on a 6-1 run to take a 14-13 lead. Back-to-back kills by Garner and Dashea Collins capped two of Lakeland’s best all-around points of the evening and put Lakeland back up 16-15. Garner finished with a team-high eight kills.

Tashah Woodus, Lakeland’s main source for height at the center of the net, came up with her best, and loudest, block of the match to tie the set at 18-18 and Crystal Trent followed with back-to-back aces to put Lakeland up 20-18.

Two more aces, this time by Jackie Wood, moved Lakeland to a 23-20 lead and Lakeland took the set, with an Oscar Smith serving error for the final point. Lakeland totaled 14 aces on the evening with Trent getting five aces.

Lakeland kept playing well and led by as much as 8-4 during the early stages of the third set. A big run by Oscar Smith changed the set around and the Lady Tigers kept good control over the remainder of that set and the fourth set.

“With every game, even with every little thing we do correctly, you see their confidence growing and I think the success will just build on itself,” said Tucker.

Lakeland (1-1, 1-1) has two tough road matches coming up. The Lady Cavaliers face Great Bridge on Thursday and go to Hickory on Monday.