Lady Mustangs look to finish strong

Posted 10/20/20

The Madisonville volleyball team dropped a highly-competitive matchup in five sets against Robinson Friday to ensure their third place standing in district. The Lady Mustangs battled undefeated China Spring on the road Tuesday and will celebrate senior night in their season finale against Connally Friday at MHS. =

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Lady Mustangs look to finish strong

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The Madisonville volleyball team dropped a highly-competitive matchup in five sets against Robinson Friday to ensure their third place standing in district. The Lady Mustangs battled undefeated China Spring on the road Tuesday and will celebrate senior night in their season finale against Connally Friday at MHS.

“We started out a little slow (against Robinson), but really picked it up,” said Madisonville head coach Kristen Hooten. “We had a lot of energy and intensity, I thought it was a really well-played match. We had a few unforced errors that killed us late (in the fifth game), but all of them were really close and could have gone either way.”

Each match in the five-set loss to Robinson at MHS came down to the wire. Madisonville stormed back from an early 0-2 deficit to force a game five, which was the only match that was not decided by the minimum-required two point margin.

“It was a really big deal for us to fall behind 2-0 and come back and win the next two,” said Hooten. “That is really hard to do. I was really proud of the girls, because it is easy to give in in a situation like that. I felt like they all fought hard and never quit.”

The Lady Mustangs dropped the matchup by scores of 23-25, 24-26, 25-23, 27-25 and 10-15. It was a stark difference from their matchup against the Rockets on the road Sept. 29, which they dropped in straight sets.

“(Robinson) is a really good team,” said Hooten. “They took China Spring to five sets and showing that we can play with them, and beat them in two matches, definitely helps our confidence.”

On Oct. 13, the Lady Mustangs essentially solidified their third place position in district with a win over LaVega in five sets by scores of 25-18, 25-15, 19-25, 17-25 and 15-6. It was the second matchup of the year between the teams that came down to a fifth game.

“We started out really well (against LaVega) and jumped on them in the first two games,” said Hooten. “Then, for some reason, we kind of lost our minds for two games and did not play well. We had to really scrap back and fight to get that fifth game. It was a bit of a roller coaster. (LaVega) is super athletic, they jump well, hit well and they are big. We just kind of lost focus in the middle of the match.”

Grace Williamson recorded 28 kills in the win over LaVega while Briana Johnson added eight and Raegan Olvera added seven. Haley Fleck led the way with four blocks and was followed by Williamson with three. Sidnie Smith was first in digs with 18 and was followed by Williamson and Olvera with 15 apiece.

The Lady Mustangs traveled to China Spring Tuesday in hopes of knocking off the undefeated Cougars. They fell to China Spring in straight sets at MHS Oct. 2.

They will then return to MHS Friday for their district finale and senior night matchup against Connally at 4 p.m. Since there are such a large amount of seniors, the festivities will take place after the matchup.

“These seniors are the group I came in on,” said Hooten. “They were sophomores then and I knew they were going to be a special group when I got here. It will be tough, they will be hard to replace. It’ll be a fun time, though, just to celebrate all of their accomplishments.”

Madisonville’s senior players include Williamson, Olvera, Smith, Kia Moffett, Haley Fleck, Kourtney Fleck, Brooke McKean, Riley Pitcock and Taylor Barrett.

“There will be a lot of tears, for sure,” said Hooten. “They have built this program up. They are the foundation and will leave a legacy that others will continue to build on.”

With their third place standing established, the Lady Mustangs know they will take on Rusk in the Bi-District round of the playoffs Oct. 29 in Crockett at 6 p.m. But the team is focused on finishing the year strong before thinking ahead to the postseason.

“(Rusk) was in our district for awhile, so we are familiar with them and have discussed the possibility of them being our opponent, but we are going to focus on this week,” said Hooten. “We are not jumping ahead by any means.”

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