By THOMAS COOK
sports@LewisvilleTexan.com

The Lewisville High School volleyball team split a pair of matches this week, to bring their district record this season to 1-3.

The Lady Farmers defeated Hurst L.D. Bell High School 3-2 (25-21, 19-25, 25-17, 17-25, 15-10) Friday night. The match was a back and forth affair, with the Farmers winning the first, third and fifth sets to pull out the close victory over the Blue Raiders.

Setter Ryleigh Taylor recorded 12 digs and 40 assists, Middle blocker Isis Williams contributed 13 kills and six blocks and middle blocker Christine Cowsert had 11 kills, 11 digs and seven blocks in the win. The victory over L.D. Bell was the Farmers’ first in district play.

“It was good. It was really good,” Lady Farmers head coach Libby Rodriguez said. “It was definitely needed for moral purposes and a confidence booster.”

Tuesday’s game against Southlake Carroll was expected to be a tough matchup, and that proved to be the case. The Dragons, who are currently the top ranked team in the state, swept the Farmers 3-0 (25-7, 25-16, 25-19).

The Farmers looked woefully outmatched in the first game, only scoring seven points to Carroll’s 25. From the start the Farmers struggled, with Carroll jumping out to a 9-0 lead, capped by a Carroll ace. The Farmers were never able to recover and were quickly defeated. Dragons’ middle blocker Annabelle Smith dominated much of the first set, recording multiple kills and blocks on the Farmers.

The second and third sets of the match were much closer following adjustments by the Farmers coaches. (Phot by Ibifiri Jamabo)

Following the first set, it looked like the Dragons would make quick work of the Farmers, but adjustments by Lewisville led to a more competitive second and third set. One of those adjustments involved a greater focus on the center of the net and stopping Smith.

“Our middles did a better job of adjusting to their middles,” Rodriguez said. “Because they just ate us up in the middle on that first game.”

The adjustments made by the Farmers paid off in the second set. Lewisville took a 13-10 lead over Carroll, and it looked like the Farmers might be able to steal a game from the Dragons. Williams, Cowsert and Rachel Barnett all recorded kills for the Farmers during the first half of the set. Barnett and Cowsert tied for the team lead with six kills in the match.

Carroll responded to the Farmers’ strategy and began focusing less on the middle and more on the right side, running their attack through outside hitter Natalie Glenn. The tactic worked well for the Dragons, who outscored the Farmers 15-3 down the stretch to win the match 25-16. Glenn, whose left-handed power attack confused the Farmers all night, recorded kills on five of the last 10 Carroll points. Glenn ended the game with a match-leading 17 kills.

On the verge of being swept, the Farmers weren’t going down without a fight. Despite being outmatched by Carroll, Lewisville continued to play with confidence.

Outside hitter Emerson Coburn serves the ball during the Sept. 12 match at Marcus High School. (Photo by Ibifiri Jamabo)

“The confidence and belief in ourselves going into the second and third game was much better.” Rodriguez said of her team’s effort following their opening set struggles.

The Farmers for the second set in a row controlled the middle of the net against the Dragons. The third set was the closest of the evening, with Lewisville only losing by six points to Carroll. Neither team was able to control the momentum in the final set, with the longest run being a four point stretch by the Dragons to make the score 14-8. Carroll wasn’t able to run away with the match after its brief run, with both teams splitting the final 22 points evenly. The difference in the third set was again Carroll’s Glenn, who continued to rack up kills against Lewisville.

Following Tuesday’s game against Carroll and the Sept. 8 match against Hebron High School, the Farmers are likely to have already played the two best teams in the district. Lewisville will face Flower Mound High School (4-0 in district) Friday, Sept. 22. Carroll, Hebron and Flower Mound are the only teams still undefeated in district play.

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