By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director
SAND ROCK – Several members of Sand Rock and Douglas’s volleyball teams play club ball with each other during the summer. On Monday night, bragging rights were on the line when the two teams faced each other in the nightcap of a tri-match with Cedar Bluff.
Sand Rock won the first set 25-20, but the Lady Eagles battled back to take the second 27-25 to force a decisive third set. The Lady Wildcats jumped out to a 7-0 run and held on for a 15-6 win.
Sand Rock also defeated Cedar Bluff in its first match 25-13, 25-12. Cedar Bluff then swept Douglas 25-23, 25-20.
“It got to some good volleyball (against Douglas). They turned it up,” Sand Rock coach Lisa Bates said. “They know each other and they wanted to beat each other. I think that second game got real intense for a little bit, but the third game we just took off from the beginning with them. I thought we finished well. Any match like that is good for us.”
Speaking of finishing, that’s something both Bates and Cedar Bluff coach Deidra Cox said their teams need to work on. Both teams got that opportunity against Douglas.
“There have been several games where we’ve struggled to finish,” Cox said. “We’d be up a couple of points there at the end and held on to win or lost a couple. Those are tough. For the most part we’re sophomores out there. We’ve got a lot of young kids, so it is a learning curve going through some growing pains. That’s one thing they’ve got to learn to do. They’ve got to learn to finish games whether we’re up by 10 or winning by two or three.”
Cedar Bluff (5-8) trailed Douglas late in the first set 22-21 before the Lady Tigers went on a 4-1 run down the stretch to take the win. In the second set, the two teams were tied at 20 before the Lady Tigers reeled off the final five points in a row.
“We didn’t have our best outing against Sand Rock, but they really rebounded and found themselves against Douglas,” Cox said. “We had some big effort plays, some good hustle plays that I was very glad and proud to see. Several of our girls showed a lot of heart and really stepped up. That says a lot about them and their character, to turn around after that loss to Sand Rock and go out and play like they did against Douglas.”
Bates said the Lady Wildcats (16-8) “played real smooth” against Cedar Bluff.
“We stayed on the offensive the whole time,” Bates said. “I thought we served pretty well as far as getting them out of system. That helped us to be more offensive than being on defense the whole time.”
Against Sand Rock, Kindal Grace led the Lady Tigers with four kills, two digs and a block. Lacie Roer, Rylie Walker and Anslee Evans each had a kill.
Grace led Cedar Bluff against Douglas with five kills. Roer added three kills and three digs. Anna Henderson had a pair of digs. Walker contributed eight assists, a kill and a dig. Caley Bruce managed three kills and a dig. Graceland Benton posted a dig and Evans had a kill.