Whitewater’s Charlotte Hughes goes up high over the net.
(Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)
Whitewater’s Lady Wildcats volleyball team hosted cross-county rival McIntosh and Drew High school Tuesday night in region 4-AAAAA action. In a rematch of last year’s AAAAA volleyball state championship, McIntosh exacted revenge on Whitewater. The Lady Cats then faced off against the Lady Titans, beating them in two.
After graduating nine players from last year’s championship team, Whitewater has all but two new faces on their varsity volleyball team. There are signs of growth, however bouts of inexperience are factoring heavily into the Lady Cats play so far this season, especially in games against tougher teams. They realize they have a tough road to traverse and are up for the challenge.
Playing McIntosh was no exception, with the Cats falling in two sets, 16-25, 19-25. The Lady Cats jumped out to lead by four in game one, only to see it evaporate when the Lady Chiefs answered with eight straight points of their own. Whitewater played with moments of brilliance, but not enough to check the Lady Chiefs who never relinquished their lead in game one. The first half of game two seemed to favor Whitewater when the Cats scored six straight points to tie the score at eight all. Whitewater then pulled ahead 12-10, their last clear lead in the match, falling in game two.
Wildcats head coach Sandi Stein said,” We are making progress. Our defense has stepped up a lot, but we still have issues with finishing a play. McIntosh is a good, consistent team. We are still building towards being our best by the region championship.”
Junior Savannah Grove added, “Our team goal is to communicate better on the court. My personal goal is to improve in playing my position. I think if both goals are met, then we will do well in the regional championship.”
Whitewater then faced off against Drew high school’s Lady Titans. In game one, although clearly the better team, the Lady Cats saw a seven point lead disappear when Drew served up six aces and a pair of kills. A well-placed time-out by Coach Stein effectively ended Drew’s run, Whitewater winning game one 25-21. Game two was an easier win for the Wildcats, the score 25-14.
Junior Laura Phillipp said after the game, “We are really enjoying this season. Our goal is to make it to state. Coach Stein has us doing a lot of conditioning workouts and gives us feedback that helps our team improve.”
Scoring offensively for the Wildcats were senior captains Charlotte Hughes (16 kills, three aces) and Kait Steele (four kills, one block, two aces), juniors Savannah Grove (seven kills, one ace), Meghan Smith (three kills), Laura Phillipp (four kills) and sophomores Carson Lamberth (one kill) and Julianna Bright (two aces).
Next the Wildcats travel to Sandy Creek for a play date this weekend to battle Newnan, Landmark Christian and Sandy Creek.