Last week marked the beginning of South Central Association play for the Houston High School volleyball team, and the Lady Tigers came away with a split of two matches by beating Thayer in two sets on Tuesday, but falling in two sets Thursday at Liberty.

In the 25-19, 25-16 win at Thayer, Houston didn’t give the host Lady Bobcats any freebies, as 100-percent of the Lady Tigers’ serves stayed in bounds. Three of those serves were aces delivered by sophomore Hannah Dzurick.

Dzurick also smacked 7 kills, while senior libero Kelly Hubbs had 14 digs and senior setter Janae Huff had 10 assists.

After missing a match with an injury, senior outside hitter Viviana Guerra was back in the Lady Tigers’ lineup and recorded a 2.67 passing rating.

“The girls were a little sluggish at times,” said HHS head coach Loran Richardson, “but they held their composure and finished the game. We passed really well as a team, which is something we have struggled with in the past.

“It’s always good to get a win on the road.”

Houston’s junior varsity squad also swept Thayer, 25-7, 25-10. The Junior Lady Tigers had 11 kills and 14 aces in the match.

“They girls did a great job,” Richardson said. “They really took care of business.”

Two days later at Liberty, the Lady Tigers fell in two sets, 25-13, 25-16.

Dzurick had 4 kills and junior Prairie Nunnery had 3, while Guerra served up 2 aces and Hubbs had 14 digs.

“The girls started out already looking beat,” Richardson said. “We tend to struggle mentally when we play certain teams. They finally started competing in the second set, but by then it was too late. We’ve got to start believing we can compete with anyone on any night.

“They are very capable of it.”

The Lady Tigers hit in the negative for only the third time this season.

“It hurt us,” Richardson said. “You can’t compete with a good team when you have a negative hitting percentage.”

Houston’s junior varsity took Liberty to three sets before losing, 22-25, 25-19, 15-9. The Junior Lady Tigers had 10 kills, 4 aces and 1 block.

“They started out really strong and then fell apart in the second and third sets,” Richardson said. “If we had kept the same intensity throughout the game, the outcome may have been different.”

Liberty’s C team beat Houston 25-23.

This week, Houston continues a busy schedule with three home matches in four days. The Lady Tigers began the flurry with a two-set loss Monday against Eminence, 25-12, 25-23.

“I was really disappointed in our first set,” Richardson said. “We didn’t come out to play at all. They turned it around the second set and competed but it just didn’t go our way at the end. These girls can compete with anyone but they’ve got to believe it and do the work.”

Guerra and sophomore Sarah Purcell had 5 kills apiece in the match, while Huff had 10 assists and Hubbs had 14 digs and a 2.36 passing rating.

Houston’s JV squad improved its record to 9-3 by dominating Eminence 25-6, 25-18. The Junior Lady Tigers recorded 17 kills and 14 aces in the victory.

Houston’s freshman team also beat Eminence, 25-20, and improved to 8-4-2 on the season.

The Lady Tigers (4-8, 1-1 SCA through Monday) hosted Cabool on Tuesday and welcome Ava to Hiett Gymnasium tonight (Thursday).

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