ET Volleyball: Lady Pirates open with sweep of Lindale
By Jack Stallard
Aug. 7, 2017 at 9:41 p.m.
Pine Tree volleyball coach Carolee Musick wanted to see balance and confidence from her team when it opened the 2017 season on Tuesday against Lindale at the Pirate Center.
She got plenty of both, and it added up to a convincing 25-21, 25-15, 25-17 sweep of the Class 5A Lady Eagles.
Sarah Moore and Natalie Collins combined for 32 assists, and five Lady Pirates had at least five kills in a match that saw the homestanding Lady Pirates trail just once in the first set, never in the second set and never by more than two points in the entire match.
"The win is big, and the balance we showed is big," said Musick, who racked up career win No. 701 with the victory. "Since I've been here, I've always had one or two kids I could depend on, but this team has a shot to be very balanced and produce offensive from any spot."
Pine Tree, coming off a 22-15 season a year ago that ended in the first round of the playoffs, returned eight seniors this year.
"We have a lot of returning players, but I said in the preseason the key was for us to go out and develop confidence in ourselves," Musick said. "The girls took the floor with confidence tonight. I'm excited about the possibilities of where we can go from here if they continue to do that."
Moore finished with 19 assists, and Collins handed out 13. Emily Jones led the way with 10 kills. Harper Finley added nine, Maizie Hart seven, Samantha Sommerfield six and Jordan Fuller five. Haley Morgan paced the defense with 13 digs. Moore added 12 and Blair Shelton seven.
The Lady Pirates trailed 2-1 early in the opening set, but tied it at 2-2 on a Lindale error and went on top to stay when Jones blocked Lindale's Hannah Knox. That started a 7-0 Lady Pirate run that included an ace by server Shelton and a kill from Finley off a set from Moore that made it 8-2.
Lindale kept it close, but a Moore dish to Sommerfield led to a kill and a 20-12 cushion. Fuller later slammed home a set from Collins for a 25-21 Lady Pirate winner in the opener.
Moore had nine assists and Sommerfield four kills in the second set as Pine Tree raced out to a 7-1 lead and stayed comfortably in front the rest of the way. The lead hit nine (18-9) on a Haley Morgan kill from the back row, and a Collins-to-Sommerfield set and kill pushed the lead to 24-14. Lindale was called for being in the net to end the set.
The Lady Eagles led 4-2 early in the final set, which featured ties at 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 before Pine Tree took the lead for good on a couple of Lindale errors.
Jones pounded down a kill to boost the lead to 16-10, and after Lindale battled back to narrow the gap to 17-15 on a kill from Knox, the Lady Pirates closed things out by outscoring the visitors 8-2 down the stretch.
The Lady Pirates will participate in the Longview Tournament this weekend, facing Hooks and Henderson in pool play on Thursday.
(Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports).