Lady Spartans down Lady Elks, again
Sometimes sports can be like a beautiful painting.
Tuesday night’s crosstown showdown between Burleson and Centennial was nothing of the sort.
Centennial’s 25-17, 25-20, 23-25, 25-22 District 9-5A volleyball victory over Burleson was more akin to kindergärtners finger painting that ends up stuck to the refrigerator door.
The win was the sixth-straight for the Lady Spartans over the Lady Elks.
Lady Spartans coach Jessica Ransom felt the match was ugly, especially in the final two sets.
“I think we handled business the first two sets and then in the third and the fourth we went on a roller coaster ride,” Ransom said. “I think we got a little bit complacent and thought we had it in the bag. The positive of that is we earned 18 of our 23 points in the third set, it’s just we gave them a lot of points on errors. That was our downfall. We just didn’t take care of the ball as well in the last two sets as we did in the first two sets.”
With the win, Centennial (14-19, 5-1) stayed in a tie for first place with Cleburne and Granbury. The Lady Spartans host Crowley Friday and play Tuesday at Everman.
“Girls have gained some confidence from our fast start in district and I think they see we can be a good team if we are all going in the same direction at the same time,” Ransom said. “We are proud of that and are going to enjoy the win tonight and then get ready for Crowley. We know the match at Burleson is going to be even tougher.”
Burleson coach D’Anna Newton saw her team get off to another slow start that caught up to them.
“It’s the same story, just a different night,” Newton said. “We wait too long to get things started and then we fight back, but we just don’t finish,” Newton said. “We just had too many errors tonight. There were lots of net calls. It just wasn’t a very clean game. We put it in other people’s hands instead of putting the ball away and doing what we needed to do.”
The loss dropped Burleson (13-15, 3-3) into a tie for fourth place with Crowley. Burleson plays Friday at Granbury and hosts Crowley Tuesday night.
“It’s all about consistency,” Newton said. “Sometimes, some of us were on and then other times we weren’t on. We did some really good things and then we did some really bad things. We need to be more consistent and go on runs when we do have momentum. It just didn’t happen for us tonight and Centennial put the ball away when they needed too. They took care of business.”
Centennial sophomore middle blocker Zassmine Birdwell said she got off to a slow start Tuesday night but found her rhythm in game two. Birdwell dominated at the net in the second game but then struggled as did her teammates in the third game when the complacency Ransom talked about set in.
“We got too comfortable in the game and thought we already had it won,” Birdwell said. “We started getting down on ourselves and Burleson won that one. We were able to turn things around in the fourth game because we got our heads back into the game.”
Centennial junior Sam Ukfes, a right-side hitter, moved to middle blocker Tuesday and had a big game, according to Ransom. Junior Ady Mize moved from outside hitter to the right-side and registered 10 kills.
Birdwell returned to form in the fourth game taking control in the middle.
“She can be a force at the net,” Ransom said. “We tell her all the time that she can be as good as she wants to be. When she decides to step up and take control of the game she is able to do that.”
Burleson, behind the play of senior middle blockers Sarah Reid and Jailah Ivory along with sophomore outside hitter Ellie Strebeck and freshman outside hitter Emily Rich, took the third game and nearly won the fourth game.
The Lady Elks led 22-21 only to see the Lady Spartans reel off four consecutive points to take the game and the match.