Plano Senior gaining confidence

Saturday, August 16, 2008
By Cory J. Mageors, Staff Writer

DUNCANVILLE -- As Saturday morning began, the bracket was set up for District 8-5A rivals Plano East and Plano Senior to square off if all the cards fell in the right place.

And sure enough, they did.

Neither team really wanted to play against one another this early in the season for various reasons, but both teams wanted to make sure they came out on the winning side. Unfortunately for the Lady Wildcats, the Lady Panthers peaked midway through the match to overcome their earlier missteps for the win.

“Man ... that was a good win,” said Maci Young, East senior outside hitter. “It has been a while since we beat them.”

But much like the entire tournament, Saturday was not an overall loss for the Lady Wildcats.

Plano had a successful morning against Stephenville, defeating the Honeybees, 2-0. And throughout the entire match, the Lady Wildcats looked in total control, winning 25-17, 25-11.

“That's exactly what it felt like too,” said Jennifer Cron, Plano head coach. “We set the pace in that match and really took control. They made a lot of errors, and instead of doing the same, we stayed focused on our side of the court in both games.”

Plano looked more poised than they have so far in the early portion of this season in Game 2 against Stephenville. Though the Honeybees jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, and eventually held an 8-4 lead, an 11-point run helped Plano surge with confidence.

Sophomore Maddy Haas served for 10 straight points, posting three aces and receiving a stellar defensive effort from her teammates. Junior Caiti Wenger finished the game with four kills and two blocks. After trailing 8-4, Plano outscored Stephenville 21-3 to take the game and the match.

Then came the district preview match-up with East.

“You always want to play good teams,” Cron said. “We have proven this is going to be a strong district, like we always say. And this was fun because these girls are getting to play good competition. It's good to see these girls find out how to play in those kinds of situations.”

The first game went off without a hitch for Plano as the Lady Wildcats stole the show with a 25-16 victory.

“We played very good volleyball in the first game,” Cron said. “We were playing with low error, and that helps.”

Then, in Game 2, East and Plano battled back and forth, exchanging the lead eight times. Plano went up, 23-20, with a five-point surge and needed only two points to finish the match and advance to the Consolation Finals of the Silver Division.

But the Lady Panthers seemed to wake up and believe they could win.

Out of a timeout, East scored five straight points to steal Game 2 and send the match into a decisive set.

There, the Lady Panthers again took control, trailing only once in the game and benefiting from several three-and-four point runs.

Down the stretch, senior Allison Brown scored four straight times for the Lady Panthers as they outscored Plano, 13-4, to take a 25-15 victory.

“We're still making little errors,” Cron said. “Things like not trusting and communicating and talking.”

But after a long tournament, the Lady Wildcats now have a plethora of information to draw from and help them as they head into the Allen Tournament this week.

“I think we're becoming a little more consistent,” Cron added. “We're heading in the right direction; we just need to keep that fighting attitude right out of the gate and do that the entire match.”

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