Fifth Game goes down to the Wire

 By Will Johnson                                                                                                                                                            Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – The Grapeland Sandiettes hit the road on Tuesday night for a match with the Crockett Lady Bulldogs. The play was intense as neither team wanted to lose the cross-county volleyball contest, but in the end the Sandiettes prevailed in the best-of-five match-up, three games to two.

The first two games saw tDonkey James VB !he Lady Dawgs and Sandiettes split with Crockett winning game one by a score of 25-18. Grapeland evened the match in game two as they held off the Lady Dawgs by a final of 25-21.

Crockett took game three, 25-19, but Grapeland was able to persevere in the game four, do-or-die situation and dominated the Lady Dawgs throughout. The Sandiettes jumped out to a 9-3 lead which ballooned up to 18-5 before Grapeland iced it at 25-8.

With both the Lady Dawgs and Sandiettes deadlocked at two games apiece, a fifth and deciding game five was needed. Crockett jumped ahead 2-0 to open the game, but Grapeland went on 3-0 run to take the lead.

After the Lady Dawgs tied the score at three, the Sandiettes scored five straight points and led 8-3. The Grapeland lead stayed at five as the score moved to 10-5, but the game appeared to slipping away from Crockett.

Coach Karla Gilbert’s squad responded, however, when their backs were against the wall. The Lady Dawgs whittled the lead down to 8-10, then 9-11, and finally to 10-11. At that point, Grapeland Coach Megan Simison called time out to allow her team to re-group.

After the TO, Crockett notched the first point to tie things up. The Sandiettes seemed to catch their second wind after the stoppage in play and picked up the next two points to regain the lead at 13-11. The Lady Dawgs cut the lead to 12-13, but that was as close as they could get as the Sandiettes scored the next two to win the game by a score of 15-12 and the match 3-2.

Following the game, Gilbert was asked to assess her team’s performance. “We beat ourselves,” she replied.

The coach was also asked what areas she saw as a positive for her team on the young season. She said, “We have a lot of hitters who are coming out more. They’re beginning to play with emotion and starting to get what I’m asking of them.”

As to an area her team needs to improvK. Harris VB 1e upon, Gilbert didn’t hesitate and remarked, “Effort.”

On the other side of the court, Coach Simison was asked to assess the Sandiettes’ play. “It was good, but we’re still all over the place. We’ll get really, really high and then we’ll get really, really low. I think that comes from being such a young team. Right now, we’re working on focusing and keeping our intensity level high for longer periods of time throughout the match,” she explained.

Commenting on the fifth game, Simison expressed when the score became close, “That was one of those low intensity moments. The moment
um started going their way and luckily we were able to get it back.”

Asked about what she told them during the timeout after Crockett had cut the lead to 11-10, Simison smiled and said, “We had a pretty tough practice on Monday because they didn’t play very well on (the previous) Saturday. I ran them pretty hard on Monday and I told them if they didn’t pick up their intensity, it would be like that again.”

She laughed and added, “I think they may have been playing out of fear – a little bit – but I think they understood it was either pick it up now or we lose. And, they managed to pull it out.”

Simison said the game’s standout player for the Sandiettes was freshman Keaundra Harris.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at