Lady Wildcats scratch the surface, but let game slip away

August 18, 2007
BY Cory J. Mageors Staff Writer

PLANO - Duncanville on Friday was an up and down for Plano Senior as they entrenched themselves in the teeth of Texas’ most talented volleyball teams.

A few questions were answered though, as Plano head coach Jennifer Cron got her team to play with an undaunted intensity.

Plano began the 32nd Annual Duncanville Tournament of Champions facing No. 3 ranked Austin Westlake, and they didn’t give up easily to the highly touted Lady Chaparrals.

“Westlake is a pretty good team,” Cron said. “So we knew what we were in for, but these girls are starting to get it together. That’s why we are here, so we can face this kind of competition.”

After dropping their first match 25-16, 25-18, the Lady Wildcats faced Cleburne in the consolation round.

And that is when things began to come together for Plano.

Plano senior setter Mary Elizabeth Hooper teamed up with senior middle Leslie Mirarchi a couple times for some solid shots. After the Lady Jackets turned their focus to Mirarchi, Hooper took it upon herself and turned quickly to score some points of her own.

Hooper also set the ball up well for senior outside hitters Christina Krone and Danielle Caldwell, which eventually led to the team’s first game victory, 25-11, over Cleburne.

“She’s always going to put the ball in the right spot for us,” Mirarchi said about Hooper. “That makes all of the difference in the world when you are trying to put the ball away.”

In game two, Plano battled with Cleburne, but pulled out to a 22-12 lead with strong defense and effective passing.

Cron wanted her team to be relaxed and play loose, and they seemed to respond very well to her, eventually defeating the Lady Jackets, 25-14.

“In the second match we came out a little more excited,” Caldwell said. “I think we were a little quiet before. We have a belief that we can do well, and the coaching is there. (Cron) has us excited and we’re all friends who are playing for each other.”

Cron told her team to play with intensity as they prepared to face San Angelo Central in both team’s final match of the day, and the Lady Wildcats responded instantly as Caldwell started the game off with a kill.

However, the Lady Bobcats went on a 6-0 scoring run and Plano looked stunned.

Later in the game, the Lady Wildcats built up a 20-13 lead and had a full head of steam. But suddenly the engine came to a halt and San Angelo senior Kaitlyn Standard was the reason. Standard fired shot after shot down the middle, and the Lady Wildcats couldn’t stop them.

The once large lead shriveled and Plano lost 25-22. In game two, Plano battled but again fell, 25-22.

“I wish we would have finished a little stronger,” Cron said. “We’re just going to have to get tougher and eliminate a few mistakes. But they’ll get there; I believe it.”

The Lady Wildcats play Highland Park today at 9 a.m. in Gym 5 of the Sandra Meadows Arena.

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