TYLER — Both teams refused to lose Tuesday night in the 2022 volleyball season opener between host Tyler and visitor Kilgore, and although Kilgore ultimately lost, a return to Rose City later in the season week turned out to be somewhat successful.
The Lady Lions and Lady Bulldogs battled it out before Tyler secured a 3-2 win at THS Gymnasium.
Tyler won 25-18, 23-25, 25-14, 21-25, 17-15.
Kilgore returned to Tyler on Thursday for a tournament, playing in a pool with the Kilgore area team, West Rusk, Tyler Legacy (the former Tyler Lee) and Rusk.
Kilgore picked up their first win of the season, beating WR, 25-20, 25-17, then also beating Rusk, 25-13, 25-19, before losing to Legacy, 18-25, 18-25.
The tournament continues today, although matches are dependent on Friday’s results, which were not complete by the deadline for this edition of the herald of news.
Kilgore plays its home opener on Tuesday against Harmony, with junior college scheduled for a 4.30pm start.
Against Tyler in the season opener, both teams were all over the field.
It appeared the Lady Lions had won the game taking an 8-2, 14-8 lead in the fifth set. But with Brooke Couch serving, the Lady Bulldogs fought back to tie the game at 13-13, eventually taking a 15-14 lead.
However, Tyler scored the last three points of the game with a hard kick from Amaya Moon to tie the game at 15-15. Then Maliyah Jones set up Maniya Simpson for a kill and a 16-15 advantage.
Libero Kristen Williams served with a hard smash that Kilgore couldn’t get over the net on three hits.
Williams led the Lady Lions with 26 digs and three aces.
Other Tyler standouts were Tajia Hambrick (13 kills, 3 blocks, 13 assists), Simpson (3 aces, 10 kills, 7 blocks, 6 digs), Zaniah Johnson (10 kills, 5 blocks), Moon (2 aces, 7 eliminations, 18 digs) and Jones (26 assists, 12 digs).
Tyler won the first set scoring the last five points for a 25-18 advantage. Moon had two kills in the run and Johnson added one.
In the second set, the contest was tied at 23-23 with a dink and a block from Johnson. After a Lady Lions error, Catherine Dennis and Summer Hayden-Epps combined for the winning block after a laser serve from Alana Mumphrey for a 25-23 KHS victory.
The Lady Lions dominated the third set, taking an 11-2 lead with kills from Johnson, Kemani Rollins and Hambrick, as well as a dink and kill from Simpson. Williams served nine straight points and eventually Tyler was ahead 25-14.
The Blues and Whites team seemed to evolve in the fourth set, taking a 12-5 lead. However, Kilgore fought back to take a 19-17 lead. After a 19-19 tie, Dennis was at the service line giving Kilgore a 23-19 lead.
The Lady Lions drew 23-21 thanks to a superb save from Hambrick and a strikeout from Williams.
Kilgore tied the game at 2-2 as Maleah Thurmond made the kill, followed by an ace from Maddison Harris.
This set up the fifth set.
Kilgore won the junior varsity game, 2-1 (25-13, 15-25, 25-20). The Lady Bulldogs also won the freshman game, 2-1 (20-25, 25-23, 15-12).
For Kilgore, Thurmond had 11 kills, two blocks and two digs. Bryonne Brooks had eight kills, three blocks and 13 digs for the Lady ‘Dogs. Reese Burgess had six digs and one kill. Couch had four kills, six digs and two aces. Dennis had one kill, one block, one assist and 19 digs.
Harris had 13 recoveries. Hayden-Epps had five kills and eight digs. Mumphrey had two kills, 12 digs and five aces. Jasmine Vasquez had 24 digs and two aces, and Isabell Witt had two digs.
In the win over West Rusk in the tournament, Brooks had nine kills, four digs and one block. Thurmond and Couch each had five wins – Thurmond had a dig. Dennis had three kills, two digs and an ace. Vasquez had 11 digs and a kill. Mumphrey had 24 assists and six digs. And Hayden-Epps killed and dug.
In Kilgore’s win over Rusk, Brooks had 11 kills, one block and four digs. Thurmond had seven kills and one block. Couch, Hayden-Epps and Dennis each had two kills – Dennis had nine digs and an ace. Couch had a dig and three aces and a block. Hayden-Epps had four recoveries. Mumphrey had 24 assists, one kill and five digs. Vasquez had 13 recoveries. Isabell Witt had five searches.
In the loss to Legacy, Brooks had five kills, one block and three digs. Couch and Hayden-Epps each had three kills and three digs. Dennis had two kills, five digs and an ace. Thurmond and Witt each killed; Witt had a dig and Mumphrey had 16 assists and an ace.