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The Tullahoma Lady Wildcats opened the 2012 volleyball season with a outstanding start on Monday night. Visiting Warren County, however, made sure the Lady Cats’ night didn’t end the same way it began.
After Tullahoma won the first game of the best-of-five series, Warren County answered by winning three straight games to take the match 3-1.
At the THS gym, Tullahoma fell to the Lady Pioneers 25-18, 14-25, 16-26, 15-25. Tullahoma rolled to a win in the opener on the strength of strong corner play from seniors Kristan Parris and Caitlin Olive. But Warren County made adjustments after a 25-18 loss and began to dominate play at the net.
“The blocking, or lack of blocking, seemed to be our doom,” said longtime Tullahoma head coach Bill Albaugh. “Warren County really took over (at the net) after the first game and we weren’t able to do anything.
“We have some things to work on, but the good thing is that it all looks fixable.”
After falling behind 10-7 in the first game, Tullahoma rallied to take a 14-11 lead. At 15-12, Warren County temporarily broke the Lady Cats’ momentum, but a spike by Parris grabbed the advantage back for THS.
Tullahoma then got a nice play at the net, a dig by Gracie Woodard, and then a nice placement on a return by Olive to take a 17-12 lead. Olive went to the service line and recorded three more points as THS went ahead 20-12.
Jessica Zebick’s work at the service line helped Tullahoma reach game point. After the Lady Pioneers rallied to within six points, 24-18, the Lady Cats won on a long serve by Warren County’s Emily Newman.
Warren County asserted itself at the net in each of the final three games, with seniors Kaitlin Lawrence and Megan Dishman using their height advantage to turn the match in favor of the Lady Pioneers,
In the second game, Warren County quickly went ahead 7-4 and never trailed. Tullahoma pulled to within five points at 15-10, but never managed to get closer.
The third and fourth games mirrored the second.
Game 3 was knotted at 4-all before Lawrence served three straight to give the Lady Pioneers a lead they would never relinquish. A kill by Tullahoma’s Anna McCord got the Lady Cats back to within four points, 10-6, and an ace by Parris pulled THS to within five, 16-11. Warren County pulled away after that.
Down 2-1, the Lady Cats hoped to tie with a win in the fourth game. They jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but a 7-0 scoring spree led by Karaline Deaton’s serving, helped Warren County take control for good.
“Our downfall was play at the net … blocking and covering our blockers and hitters,” said assistant coach Archie Hunt. “If we can get this corrected quickly, we should be able to hold our own with anyone in our district.”
n The Tullahoma junior varsity lost as well, falling 14-25, 22-25. “For the number of first-year players we have on the team they did well, but the serving was our undoing,” said Hunt. “In the second game of the match, Laura Hess kept us in the game with her serving, but it wasn’t enough.” … Tullahoma was scheduled to play at Grundy County on Tuesday. Results were not available at press time. THS hosts Fayetteville City on Thursday beginning at 4 p.m.
By ROBERT HOLMAN, Sports Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)