In a season when wins have by no means been rare, the Houston High School volleyball team got a big one Tuesday night.
This time the Lady Tigers beat Liberty 3-1 in a tightly-contested and crucial South Central Association road game in Mountain View. After the host Lady Eagles won the first set 25-15, Houston took the next three, 26-24, 25-19, 27-25.
The Lady Tigers had three players smack more than 10 kills in the game, as 5-11 junior middle hitter Olivia Crites belted 14, senior setter Hannah Dzurick banged 12 and sophomore outside hitter Angie Smith walloped 11.
Smith and senior libero Mali Brookshire helped create plenty of offensive chances for Houston, as Smith had 34 digs and a 2.0 passing rating, while Brookshire recorded 24 digs and a 2.03 passing rating.
Dzurick set up hits for teammates with 23 assists and junior Aliyah Walker had 19, while Smith served up 4 aces and 5-1 junior Logynn Foster had 3.
The Lady Tigers’ front line often made things hard for Liberty hitters, as 6-foot sophomore Kelsey Pritchett had 1 solo block and 1 assist block, while Dzurick and 6-foot senior Sarah Purcell each had 2 assist blocks and Crites a solo block.
The victory put the Lady Tigers alone atop the SCA standings at 3-0. Liberty (10-5, 2-1 SCA) is also in Houston’s district this season.
“It was a huge win for us,” said HHS head coach Loran Richardson. “We’ve been talking a lot about being disciplined and fighting through adversity on the court when things aren’t going well. After a rough first set, I feel like the girls got down to business and did what they needed to do. Liberty is a good team and we fought hard for that win on the road.”
The Lady Tigers (13-2-1 overall) play another big SCA road game Thursday at Cabool.
Houston will face a stiff challenge in the upcoming Class 2 District 9 tournament, as the district’s 5-team field includes Licking, Liberty, Mansfield and Thayer.
“We’ve got a lot of tough games still to come,” Richardson said, “and we need to be playing our best volleyball in about three weeks.”
The Lady Tigers will host the inaugural Houston Volleyball Showdown Saturday in the new gym.
The 8-team tournament includes Houston, Bradleyville, Plato and Thayer in Pool A, while Pool B features Bourbon, Mansfield, Mountain Grove and Willow Springs.
Pool play is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., and will include 2-set games. The top two teams in each pool will advance to best-of-3 bracket games.