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Spring Hill takes two

George Whitley

By George Whitley
Aug. 8, 2017 at 11:07 p.m.

Spring Hill's Taylor White attempts to block a shot as Henderson's Kassi Freemen hits the ball into the net, on Tuesday August 8, 2017, during their game in Panther Gymnasium. (Michael Cavazos/News-Journal Photo)

Dawn Stewart's youthful Spring Hill Lady Panther volleyball team played more like seasoned veterans Tuesday night in their season-opening tri-match sweep of Henderson and Marshall.

The Lady Panthers, sporting a roster of three freshmen and five sophomores along with a junior and senior, overcame a slow start to handle the Henderson Lady Lions in four, 25-12, 16-25, 25-20, 28-26.

In the nightcap, Spring Hill proved lethal from the service line, notching a straight set sweep of the Marshall Lady Mavs, 25-20, 25-11, 25-11.

Marshall, under the direction of first-year head coach Kayla Green, swept Henderson by identical scores of 25-11, 25-11, 25-11 in the evening's middle match.

It was also the head coaching debut for Henderson's Archie Thompson.

Turning point in the evening's final match came when Stewart called a timeout with the third set tied at 7-all and the Lady Panthers holding a 2-0 lead.

"I called the timeout because I wanted to reemphasize to the girls that we wanted to make them earn it," Stewart said. "We wanted them to earn every single point they scored. Our girls responded and we came out with the win."

The Lady Panthers came out of the timeout and got a service break from freshman Taylor White, sending freshman Kaycee Campbell to the service stripe.

Campbell responded by serving four unanswered points, three of which were aces. This staked Spring Hill to a 12-7 lead before Marshall sophomore Ava Rockey broke with a kill.

Lady Panther sophomore Kristen Stewart took the ball with a 13-8 advantage and reeled off three points, including a spectacular one-handed punch save at 14-8.

The set and match ended with sophomore southpaw Hannah Stark serving out from 18-11 with seven in a row.

Sophomore Karlie White threw down a kill on a nice assist from Stewart, who also hammered home a point with a slam. White contributed a dink shot and senior Hannah Methvin followed up with another kill, taking the match to game-point.

"I'm very proud of these girls first of all. I told them when we first started no excuses. We're young. So what. We just got to go out there and play," Stewart explained. "I knew if we played hard, good things would happen. Our servers were really aggressive. We had a game plan going into the Marshall game. They are so athletic and we wanted to make it hard for them with tough serves. The girls responded to what was asked of them and we came out with the win."

Kristen Stewart led the way for Spring Hill with 26 assists, 18 kill and 11 digs. Methvin was close behind with 15 kills, 19 assists and 10 digs. Hannah Stark added a team-high 26 service winners, while Karlie Smith followed with 19 points from the line.

Spring Hill (2-0) participates in the Longview Lady Lobo Volleyball Tournament beginning Thursday.

(Follow George Whitley on Twitter: @GPigskinprof)

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