The Howe Lady Bulldogs drew the short straw in their opening round match in pool play Aug. 29 at the Whitesboro Volleyball tournament.
Going up against the state-ranked Gunter Lady Tigers, the Lady Bulldogs had to fire all of their bullets in the opening match.
The two teams traded points in the early going with Howe getting a kill by Alissa Smith to keep pace with the Lady Tigers.
After Gunter had jumped ahead by three, Riley Harvey knocked down a shot for another Howe point. The Lady Tigers built their lead to 10 and looked to be running away with the set before Howe started a run.
Two Gunter miscues and a block at the middle by Hailey DeFrange cut the lead to six and forced a Gunter timeout. A cross-court winner by Morgan Carney cut the advantage to five before Gunter stopped the run.
A hard shot to the corner by Harvey kept Howe hopes alive, but Gunter sent in a winner to take the first set, 25-19.
Howe got off to a good start in the second set of the best-of-three match, using a Gunter error and a Carney kill to open the set.
The Lady Tigers came roaring back, going on an 8-0 run to take the lead. Aurian James made a nice save on Howe’s third point of the set and a kill by DeFrange kept the Lady Bulldogs close. Smith pushed down a hanger at the net and a service winner by James cut the Gunter lead to two.
The lead never got above four as the two teams traded winners.
A block by Tiffany Lallier and another by DeFrange highlighted the Howe offense, and a Harvey kill made it a 16-14 game.
Gunter pulled ahead before two kills by Carney and another Lallier block closed the lead to just one. After a Gunter error, Carney sent in a line-shot to give Howe a 20-19 lead.
After the Lady Tigers had jumped back on top, 23-21, a Lallier kill and another Gunter error tied the game at 23-23.
Gunter, which went on to win the tournament championship on Saturday, put in two winners to escape with a 25-23 victory.
Howe vs Sherman
With all their emotional bullets sent in that opener, Howe had to come right back and take on a Sherman team reached the tourney finals.
In the first set, a block by DeFrange tied the set at 2-2 and an ace by Carney kept the game dead-locked at 8-8.
Sherman began killing the Lady Bulldogs softly — as in Jayzhia Softly. The Sherman senior was a force at the net, sending in kills and directing the Lady Cat offense.
Despite some fine play late by Harvey, Lallier and DeFrange, Sherman took the opening set, 25-13.
After two impressive kills by Carney to open the second set, Howe took the lead, 4-3, on a shot by Lallier. After Sherman tied the set at 5-5, the Lady Cats went on an extended run and took the set, 25-10, and the match.
Howe has time to regroup afther this loss as it won’t return to action until a Sept. 10 match in Aubrey.