Lady Mavs make strides, but fall to MP
By By Tyler Clifton firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct. 2, 2012 at 10 p.m.
The Marshall volleyball team came out on the Maverick Gymnasium court on Tuesday and made what it hopes was a statement to itself and the rest of District 14-4A, and the effort they gave, as well as head coach April Helton going hoarse after voicing her approval throughout the match, were living proof.
Mount Pleasant entered the day having lost only one of its first three district games, and although it won the first game with relative ease, the Lady Tigers left with a fight on their hands after scratching and clawing their way to win 25-10, 27-25, 14-25, 25-21 behind a match-high 17 kills from Genesis Alvarez.
Katelynn Graham finished with 11 kills, Ladaisha Gillard had eight kills and Ravon Morgan added 26 assists for MP (21-6, 3-1). Jhaenniece Rasberry had a productive outing with eight kills and nine service points, Jordan Robinson served 11 points to go along with six kills and Taylor Cotten added 17 assists, as Marshall dropped to 0-4 in district play but showed tremendous signs of improvement.
"Our girls tried really hard and are going to keep fighting," Helton said. "They played very well, and I'm happy for the way they came out and gave it their all even though we came up a little short in the end."
The Lady Mavericks had just lost the hard-fought Game 2 and had every reason to call it a night, but something began to click with Taylor Robinson serving two of her six points, Cotten dishing out a pair of aces and Da Teavia Robinson adding two kills and two service points for an early 9-3 advantage.
The lead stretched to 17-8 on the serve of Rasberry and Keyonia Smith, as freshman newcomer Traymesha Smith knocked down three of her six kills, and Jordan Robinson added two of her six.
Morgan set up Graham twice to get the Lady Tigers within seven in the late stages, as did a pair of key serves from Katelynn Joyner, but Marshall scored five of the final six points, with Cotten spreading the wealth to Rasberry, Heidi George and Smith to send the match into a fourth game.
"This is one of the better teams we've played, and I knew our girls were going to keep fighting," Helton said. "We kept the momentum going in the third game from playing so strong in the second game."
Mount Pleasant jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the decisive Game 4 behind strong serving from Paula Meriwether (who had a match-high 17 service points) and Alvarez's dominating play at the net.
Marshall kept chipping away at its deficit and trailed only 12-8 on Rasberry's ace. The Lady Tigers seemed to put things away with another 6-0 run behind Meriwether to stretch the lead back to double digits at 20-9. The Lady Mavericks had one more run in them, pulling within four at 23-19 on Cotten's set to Rasberry on Caton Jones' serve. They avoided match point twice late before Alvarez's kill ended it after Dez'rae Mosley's kill set up game point.
"It still hurts, but it's always going to hurt when you don't pull out a win," Helton said. "The girls gave me 100 percent tonight, and it's all I could ask of them. We hope this helps us against Pine Tree."
Marshall and the eighth-ranked Lady Pirates square off on Friday in Longview for the first-half finale.
Game 1 went back and forth, with Jayme Cole's set to George keeping Marshall within three (10-7) in the early stages until the Lady Tigers answered with a 14-2 run all the way to match point on the serve of Meriwether and Alvarez, who along with Graham was unstoppable at the net. Labresha Hargrave's quick set to Gillard on the middle block sealed the Game 1 win.
Taryn Dungan got in on the action at the service line in Game 2, as Mount Pleasant scored eight of the first 11 points. Marshall scored eight of the next nine for its first significant run of the match behind the serve of the Robinson sisters (Jordan and Taylor) along with several Lady Tiger errors.
The teams fought tooth and nail and were tied five times late, including 20-all. Marshall scored four straight on game point to go up 25-24 but couldn't seal the deal, as the Lady Tigers scored the final three points, including Morgan's push into the corner for the two-game advantage.
Precious Thompson had two key assists in the Game 2 win, and Kayren Horn added three points.