That search continues for both following Tuesday’s tri-match split with Collinsville at Cedar Bluff.
The Lady Tigers (16-13, 4-1) defeated Class 1A, No. 5 and Area 13 rival Collinsville in four games, 25-19, 26-28, 25-16. It was the Lady Panthers’ first area loss of the season.
Collinsville (18-6, 2-1) rebounded in its next match against Cherokee County, taking a 25-21, 20-25, 15-11 decision.
The nightcap featured the Lady Warriors and Cedar Bluff, with Cherokee County battling back to claim a 19-25, 25-17, 15-10 victory to improve to 12-15 for the season.
Following the loss to Cherokee County, Ferguson had a lengthy closed-door meeting with the Lady Tigers. Even though Cedar Bluff earned a split in their matches, Ferguson was disappointed with the Lady Tigers’ footwork on the floor.
“In both matches, it just seemed like our feet were stuck to the ground,” she said. “We weren’t moving. Our feet have been our worst enemy all year. Even in the match we won, we didn’t move well.”
Footwork led Cedar Bluff to a scary moment during the second game of the Collinsville match.
With the Lady Tigers up 24-22, senior hitter Audrianna Hargitt and sophomore libero/right side hitter Paige Bryant both dove for a ball and collided with each other. The two players were down for several moments on the play, but both Bryant and Hargitt returned to action shortly thereafter.
Game officials couldn’t determine if the ball was in bounds during the collision. It was their decision to extend the game, ultimately won by Collinsville 28-26.
The Lady Tigers didn’t let the turn of events rattle them. They responded by winning the next two games to take the match.
Hargitt led the Lady Tigers with 14 kills, 22 digs, two aces and two assists. Hannah Leach added 28 kills, 13 digs, two blocks and two aces. Raveen McElrath tallied 22 digs, 21 assists, four kills and an ace. Abby Storey came away with 24 digs, five kills, two aces and an assist.
Marigrace Wilson contributed six kills, six digs, two blocks and an assist. Jasmine Adams added five digs, three aces, two kills, two blocks and two assists. Brooke Wood had four assists and a kill. Bryant finished with 11 digs.
Christy Cox led Collinsville with 15 kills and six digs. Kiana Ford added 10 kills and three digs. Brittney Tidmore tallied 13 assists and a pair of aces.
“I give it to them. They kept fighting,” Ferguson said of her team. “I tried to stress to them all week since we split with Spring Garden that it was essential we get both wins over Collinsville. We really need to host the area tournament. I think that’s going to be a big deal.”
Collinsville coach Josh Burrell said he knew it was going to be a battle with Cedar Bluff.
“I thought we battled in the second game, but the other games we were a little lethargic,” he said. “We didn’t play up to our potential.”
Christy Cox led Collinsville with 15 kills and six digs. Kiana Ford added 10 kills and three digs. Brittany Tidmore tallied 13 assists and a pair of aces. Hanna Hornbuckle finished with seven digs.
The Lady Panthers put the loss behind them in their next match against Cherokee County, outlasting the Lady Warriors in three games.
Cox led the charge once again with 10 kills and three blocks. Ford added nine kills and Tidmore finished with seven assists.
Kayle Moon had six kills for the Lady Warriors in the Collinsville match. Heather Hubbard finished with 15 assists.
Monteith Goss said the Lady Warriors “came out flat and not ready to play” against Collinsville.
“We should be at the point where we’re maturing,” she said. “We’ve got to have leaders step up. We’ve got a team right now waiting for leaders to emerge and be dependable. Until we have that, we’re going to be stuck in that OK to good zone.
“As a coach, it’s just frustrating for me to play up and play down. A lot of that is mental – knowing how to come into a game and knowing how to be ready without having to lose game before you get mad. We’re going to make some adjustments in our preparation so that will keep from happening.”
The up-and-down play exhibited by the Lady Warriors showed up again in their match against Cedar Bluff. They built a 14-8 advantage in game one before the Lady Tigers rallied to take the lead and ultimately the win.
Game two saw the Lady Warriors jump out to a 13-5 lead, but this time, they held on to force a decisive third game.
In the third game, the Lady Warriors battled to a 9-all tie and went on a 6-1 run down the stretch for the final.
“We had a few points where we rallied back, but then we’d dig ourselves another hole,” Ferguson said. “We’re up and down – not just day-to-day, but sometimes from match-to-match or game-to-game. We can’t get in synch and keep it there. We’ve got to figure out a way to do that.”
Madison Millsaps and Megan Dupree both had seven kills to lead the Lady Warriors. Moon added five kills. Jessen Burk and Kate Carter contributed 10 and eight digs respectively. Hubbard finished with 23 assists.
Hargitt led the Lady Tigers with 14 kills, 12 digs and three blocks. Leach added 10 kills and seven digs. McElrath managed 16 digs, six assists and a kill. Bryant came away with 12 digs.
Wood contributed seven assists. Storey tallied seven digs, two aces and a kill. Adams had three assists, two digs and two blocks. Wilson finished with three kills and a block.