By Will Johnson
LATEXO – As the volleyball season nears the mid-point of district play in 2016, the Latexo Lady Tigers have shown they may well be a force to be reckoned with as the second half gets underway next week.
Despite losing eight players from an 11 member squad in 2015, the Lady Tigers have shown flashes of potential as the season progresses. The biggest key to their success may well be in their ability to maintain a consistent level of play throughout an entire match.
Their play at the net has steadily improved as the season has progressed and their backcourt play has also been a reliable asset throughout district competition.
On Tuesday, the Lady Tigers welcomed the Normangee Lady Panthers to Latexo and while the match went against the home team, the Lady Tigers showcased their ability to play against most anyone in District 22-2A.
Although Latexo fell in four sets, the 18-25, 19-25, 25-21, 14-25, the score was much closer than it appeared. After dropping the first set, the Lady Tigers jumped out to an early lead in set number two. The Lady Panthers stormed back, however, took the lead at 8-7 and eventually pushed the score out to 18-11. Latexo began to come back in the set and forced Normangee to take a time out to try and stop the Lady Tigers momentum.
Latexo cut the lead to three as the two teams battled through long sustained rallies during the remainder of the set. The two teams see-sawed back and forth but Normangee eventually pulled away to win 25-19.
Down by a set count of 2-0, the Lady Tigers showed a tremendous amount of resilience in the third set. The Lady Tigers jumped ahead 3-0 but as play progressed, the Latexo girls found themselves down by a score of 7-13. At that point, Coach Katie Brown called a timeout to re-focus her team. Whatever Coach Brown said during the stoppage of play appeared to work. The Lady Tigers went on a 10-1 run and led 17-14 when Normangee was forced to call a TO.
This time, however, the Lady Panthers’ strategy was ineffective as Latexo continued to roll and won the set 25-21.
Unfortunately for the Lady Tigers, the fourth set was all Normangee and they closed out the match by a final set score of 25-14.
The Latexo fans can take heart, however. Given the youth of the team and the way they are beginning to gel on the court, the Lady Tigers may just surprise a few teams during the second half of district. Lovelady defeated Latexo in five sets in Lovelady, Grapeland took the Lady Tigers in four very close sets during a match in Grapeland and Latexo just showed Normangee they should be wary when they travel to the Lady Panthers lair later this month.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.