Lady Marauders make it eight straight in 3-0 sweep of Plano

September 21, 2010
BY Matt Welch,

FLOWER MOUND - When a team is 30 games into its volleyball season and has only tasted defeat three times, there’s definitely something working in your favor.

In the case of Flower Mound Marcus, that something was on display for three sets on Tuesday while hosting Plano Senior. What began as a closely-knit affair early in the first two sets steadily gave way to the same well-rounded prowess that had secured seven consecutive wins for the Lady Marauders entering the matchup.

The final damage: a 3-0 Marcus sweep (25-13, 25-16, 25-12); the Lady Marauders’ fourth sweep in their last five matches.

“I was proud of the way we came out,” said Cristie Liles, Marcus head coach. “Especially with my team, I always have these expectations and you sometimes you don’t know how they’re going to come out. But they came out strong, served aggressive, passed well and I was proud of another great performance.”

The loss equated Plano’s third in its four District 8-5A matchups, but Tuesday saw Plano match Marcus point for point early on.

Mimicking each other in the opening moments, if the Marauders managed a block, as they did twice in their first four points behind the likes of juniors Elizabeth Fortado and Lauren Douglass, plus senior Bailey Bunting, Plano was right there to counter.

Working the blocking front of sophomore Maddie Morell and senior Taylor Story, little separated the two squads early on.

Attack errors took form though, as Plano’s gridlock with the Lady Marauders grew wider and wider as the set progressed. Sophomore Regan McGuire found opening the Lady Wildcat defense for four first-set kills, as an 8-7 Marcus lead swelled to a 13-8 Marcus advantage, which then grew to a 21-11 cushion, and so forth.

With Marcus out-killing Plano, 11-8, in the first frame, the Lady Wildcats surrendered 10 points on attack errors for the eventual 25-13 Lady Marauder win.

“It was a disappointing showing, but Marcus is a great team,” said Jennifer Cron, Plano head coach. “We knew that coming into tonight, but we just didn’t play well tonight.”

Despite the sluggish set, Plano seized control early into the second frame and opened up a 6-2 advantage. That came courtesy of an early quartet of kills by the likes of Story, Morell and junior Ashley McDowell.

But Marcus was there to answer the call.

Fortado, who managed three kills in the first set, keyed in on the Plano back row for five kills in the fifth set, finishing the night with eight kills total while sitting out most of the third set.

“[Fortado] just hits the ball so hard and comes at you so quick,” Liles said. “She’s just something else … She’s hard to defend at practice too, so it’s both good practice for us and her.”

Douglass led Marcus with nine kills and four blocks, while Plano got six kills from Morell and five from Story.

“We have a lot of youngness and a lot of new players on varsity,” Cron said, “so sometimes it can hurt you as much as it helps you at other times. But they’re developing, getting better and I like their attitude and hustle.”

The Lady Wildcats’ youth accounted for a late second-set spurt that included a pair of blocks from junior Sarah Talley, but as had become customary, an attack error capped the second frame at 25-16 for Marcus.

Errors swept the court in the third set with both teams combining for only nine kills. The Lady Marauders managed just four of those points, flexing its blocking front late and attempting to stave off some opportunistic digs from Plano senior Jenna Coalter.

Douglass recorded half of the Marcus kills in the final set for the eventual 25-12 win and the sweep.

“They’re very focused,” Liles said. “They’re focused on taking each game for what it is, but they’ve also got their eye on what they want to accomplish at the end of the year as well.”

Marcus returns to action on Friday at 7 p.m. in a road match at Allen, while the Lady Wildcats host Lewisville at the same time.

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