If it’s November, it’s volleyball playoff time – and once again the Leon Lady Cougars are right in the middle of the 3A battle for a state title.
On the day before Halloween, October 30, Leon had nothing but tricks for the Blooming Grove Lady Lions in the Bi-District game. Winning the match in three quick sets by scores of 25-6, 25-9, 25-11, Leon totally outmatched the fourth place finishers from District 17.
Leon 3 – Blooming Grove 0
Kaydee Honeycutt scored the first point of set one with a kill and Sarah Grace Merry was at the service line for Leon’s first eight points including two aces. Merry, Allee Pervis, Caroline Richmond and Camyrn Davidson joined Honeycutt with kills in the set. Honeycutt finished the set with four unreturned serves.
Blooming Grove had a brief lead in set two before two unreturned serves by Maddie Thomas tied the score at 3 all. From there it was all Leon. Honeycutt scored three straight aces and one unreturned serve to bump the score to 11-4. Rosemary Rivera added an ace and three unreturned serves in the middle of the set. Merry made a big block at 21-9 and Raelyn Theiss added 3 points with unreturned serves. Sarah Grace got the last point kill with a dig from Richmond and a set from Honeycutt.
After the regular season and heading into the playoffs, Coach Evans usually expands the varsity roster by adding players from the JV team. Sarah Rains, Andrea Ceja, Lori Pervis and Kassidy Cravey suited up for the game against the Lady Lions and all got a bit of playing time in set three. Kaydee Honeycutt led off the set with a kill and Leon quickly jumped to a 5-0 lead with Merry at the line. Kills in the set came from Rivera, Merry, Richmond and Allee Pervis had a nice unassisted kill to make the score 18-11. Merry added two aces and an unreturned serve before Sarah Rains came in to score a unreturned serve and two aces making the score 24-11. Caroline Richmond finished the scoring in the match with a set from Andrea Ceja.
Leon 3 – Troy 1
The Lady Cougars didn’t spend much time celebrating the Bi-District win as they prepared for the Area game on Thursday, November 2. Troy defeated Rockdale in the Bi-District round to advance to the game against Leon. The Troy Trojanettes finished the season runner-up in District 19 with only two losses to West in district and a 32-8 record overall. The Trojanettes came into the game with some impressive stats and a solid defense to back up the offense power of their big hitters. Sophomore Alexis Tippitt gave the Lady Cougars blockers all they could handle in the match, and junior Molly Tomlin had success as well. Troy took the early lead before a tech and a couple of net balls got the Cougars back on track. Caroline Richmond took a bead on Troy’s big hitter and had two big blocks to double up the score 8-4 Leon. Camyrn Davidson and Sarah Grace Merry got into the action with blocks to get Troy off their game. Kaydee Honeycutt, Merry, Richmond brought the offense with kills in the set. Blocks by Davidson and Richmond helped close out the set 25-13.
The Trojanettes came out swinging in the second set and Leon committed too many unforced errors in the close game. Leon had a 19-18 lead with the help of good digs by Theiss, sets by Jordan Robinson and kills by Honeycutt, but two techs on Leon gave Troy the lead and they held on for the win. 25-22 Troy.
Between sets, Coach Evans encouraged the team to get back to basics and concentrate on playing their game. Jordan Robinson took the ball to start set 3 and served for the first four points of the game. After a kill by Tomlin for Troy, Kaydee Honeycutt answered with a huge kill. Caroline Richmond and Honeycutt continued to block shots by Tippit and limited her to two kills in the set. With the score 10-5 Leon, the Cougars went on a seven-point run and after Troy scored a point, Leon answered with another seven point run. Big kills by Rosemary Rivera, Sarah Grace Merry and Camyrn Davidson gave Leon the 25-7 win.
Allee Pervis scored the first point in set 4 for Leon and the Lady Cougars never trailed. Leon’s ability to stymie Troy’s big hitters with blocks at the net frustrated the Trojanettes offense and took them out of the game plan. Kaydee Honeycutt, Caroline Richmond and Sarah Grace Merry all came up big to deny kills by the Trojanettes. Leon’s defense of Theiss, Rivera, Honeycutt and Richmond kept the ball in play and created chances for the front line to score. Kills by Honeycutt and Davidson gave Leon a 24-13 lead and on the following volley, a dig by Richmond, a perfect set by Honeycutt allowed Merry to finish the set with big kill for the 25-14 win.
It doesn’t get any easier as the Lady Cougars moved on to the Regional Quarterfinal game on Tuesday, November 7 against the Little River Academy Bumblebees. LRA, the runner-up in District 20, defeated District 17 winner Grandview 3-1 in the Area round. The winner on Tuesday will advance to the Regional Semifinal game this Friday in Longview.