They did it again.
The Houston High School volleyball Lady Tigers dominated county rival Plato in a straight-sets victory Tuesday in the new gym, 25-10, 25-14, 25-8.
That makes it five sweeps in five outings for Houston so far this season, as the team is a perfect 15-0 in sets.
In the first-ever varsity competition staged in Houston’s new gym, the visiting Lady Eagles managed to keep things close early in the first two sets, but couldn’t stay with their talented hosts on either occasion.
With the score tied at 5 in the first set, the Lady Tigers went on a 12-2 run and were up 17-7 after senior libero Mali Brookshire served up three straight aces (each one to a different spot on the floor).
Plato actually led 6-3 in the second set, but Houston took control and outscored the Lady Eagles 22-8 from there.
With Plato still hanging around, the Lady Tigers scored on a marathon point to lead 19-14, with Brookshire and senior defensive specialist Logynn Foster each diving and lunging for multiple digs. A short time later, Houston was on top 22-14 after scoring on another long rally finished by a point from sophomore Angie Smith.
The third set was almost never in doubt. With the score knotted at 1-all, the Lady Tigers scored 15 straight points with the 5-foot-1 Foster serving to take a commanding 16-1 lead. She delivered 4 aces during the decisive the scoring binge, as her teammates found almost every way possible to pile up the other 11 points.
Houston’s bench got into the act late in the set, with senior Jordyn Lay scoring twice to make it a 19-2 game.
Plato didn’t give up and scored some points down the stretch, but the sweep was complete when senior Hannah Dzurick sent a jump-serve into open territory for an ace.
Foster, a transfer from Mountain Grove, was all smiles following her rare service stint.
“I felt like it set a good, positive tone for the final set for us to walk away with a win in our big new gym!” she said. “Getting a lead like that in the beginning of the game opens up a lot of opportunities for our team to run different plays and work on the little things we need to perfect. Being able to start off strong and not dig yourself in a hole at the beginning of the game sets the pace for the rest of the game.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be a Lady Tiger.”
Houston’s tall, mobile front line players have caused problems for every opponent so far this season, and the Lady Tigers’ depth and athleticism makes it hard to find a hole, as the likes of Brookshire, Foster, Dzurick, Smith and sophomore Aliyah Walker seldom let balls fall untouched.
“Our defense does a great job,” said head coach Loran Richardson. “Mali and Logynn are both solid back there, along with Hannah, Angie and Aliyah. Our block also funnels the ball really well to our defense, which makes their job easier.”
Houston finished with a season-high 14 aces in the game, with junior Olivia Crites recording 6 and Brookshire and Foster notching 4 apiece.
Meanwhile, Crites, Dzurick and Smith each banged 6 kills, while Crites and 6-foot senior Sarah Purcell were each credited with a block.
Setter Dzurick put up 15 assists, while Brookshire had 14 digs and Foster finished with 9.
The Lady Tigers will try to win 3 more sets in the new gym this Thursday (Sept. 16) against Conway, and they’ll see how many more they can win Saturday during a 15-team tournament at Cabool.
Richardson said the way the team is playing is making her job easier.
“I’m really proud of how these girls are starting to understand the game,” she said. “They’re figuring out what they need to adjust without having to be told. That is such an advantage for them on the court.”