Pumped crowd excites West

September 22, 2007
By Cory J. Mageors, Staff Writer

PLANO - Even before play began at Plano West Friday night, the student sections of Plano and West began to stir the pot with chants bouncing from each side of the court like the volleyballs which flew threw the gym air.

From the onset, Plano (3-2) and West (4-1) brought electricity to the gym with each bump and set, but the Lady Wildcats seemed to have spiked too soon as their lone win came in the first game falling to West 3-1.

“Mostly we really believed in ourselves in game one,” said Jennifer Cron, Plano head coach. “After that I think West just came alive and to their credit they played very well tonight.”

As the first serve sailed through the air, the room fell silently if only for a moment. West junior Michelle Harris made a diving dig in the middle of the floor, and the fans erupted. The ball was sent sailing back over the net where the Lady Wildcats setup senior Danielle Caldwell for the first kill of the match.

Two times, West senior Shannon Hawari elevated for a kill but was stuffed first by Plano senior Mary Elizabeth Hooper, then by senior Leslie Mirarchi.

The Lady Wildcats gained a 5-2 lead before West senior Haley Wessels added a kill and a block and West took a 6-5 lead. The two teams exchanged serves before Plano went on a tear with Christina Krone, Hooper and Mirarchi adding four kills and stunning the Lady Wolves.

Plano extended their lead to 16-11 and with the help of Caldwell and senior Quinn McKee they went up 23-18.

After a timeout, West scored four straight points with two kills from Hawari and one from senior Jordan Kirk. However, moments later, Plano put game one away 25-22.

West head coach Brittany Bridge remained calm as her team looked intimidated.

“I knew that these girls were kind of in awe at the amount of people they were playing in front of,” said Bride. “I could tell we were nervous and I just told them instead of being timid, they needed to go out and show for all of these people. Show them all what you can really do.”

Bridge hit the on switch from there as West found their groove late in game two.

West sophomore Rachael Bedell started things off with a block of Caldwell and a kill. Hawari and Kirk began to take over from there.

Kirk put down five kills, scoring five of the Lady Wolves first 12 points before Plano was forced to call a timeout, trailing 12-7.

Down 18-10, Plano strung together four points but was able to score only one more point down the stretch as West scored six of the last seven points in a 25-15 win.

In game three, the Lady Wolves separated themselves on the offensive end.

“We are more of an offensive team and Plano is more of a defensive team,” said Bridge. “Whereas they will get more points off of our errors, our offense is set up to score points.”

In the kill category, West finished game 3 with 18 to Plano’s six. Even though the board was lined with kills for the Lady Wolves, Plano kept it close.

At the first timeout the Lady Wildcats trailed 21-17 and scored two more points before another timeout was called. However, West was merely two points away from finishing game. With a kill from junior Megan Murphy the Lady Wolves put it away 25-19.

Suddenly West began to show their dominance.

In game four, the Lady Wolves put a 9-0 mark on the scoreboard before Plano’s Caldwell scored Plano’s first points.

Slowly, Plano began to work their way back into the game.

“We have a tendency to do that,” said Bridge. “We will put it in cruise control for three points or nine points. That is what we have to learn and crack down on as a team. We have to be able to side out and then get the ball right back.”

Plano began to gain steam as Mirarchi put down two kills and a block. Plano scored four straight points and suddenly West led by only a 16-13 margin.

However, as the game wore on, Hawari and Kirk added powerful, heartbreaking kills as West went on to win 25-20. Hawari finished the night with 19 kills while Kirk posted 18 for the match.

“We didn’t have our best games in the last few,” Cron said. “But they will get it together. We still have both Lake Highlands and West at home so we’ll have to see how things go from there.”

As for the Lady Wolves, Bridge feels the home games have helped the Lady Wolves prepare for a tough remainder of their schedule.

“It’s good that we had this kind of game,” Bridge said. “These girls got a chance to play in front of a big crowd. And that kind of crowd brings good energy and it’s more exciting then. They don’t get that too often because of football. But from here we have to focus on improving to beat Lake Highlands next time around.”

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