Lady Lions Ace Beginning of Season

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Lady Lions Ace Beginning of Season

Hayden Simmons, Sports Reporter

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The Ponder Lady Lions volleyball team is back and ready to roll with a new look squad. Coach Stormi Snider and the team look to improve on last season’s record despite graduating 3 seniors. Key returners include seniors Meagan Cope and Sadie Dearing, and sophomore setter Averee Tipton. The team also gained a new assistant coach as well, Coach Neighbors. The Lady Lions are looking for big things this season after lots of hard work and dedication put in this summer and are ready to watch it pay off as the season begins.

The Lady Lions opened the season on Tuesday August 9th at Van Alstyne against the Lady Panthers. The team started off strong and took the first set 25-16. After a hiccup in the second, falling 17-25, the team rattled off 25-11 and 25-17 wins in sets 3 and 4 to pick up a dub to begin the season. Seniors Meagan Cope and Sadie Dearing, and sophomore Harper Mulkey each had 7 kills to lead the team.

The Lady Lions traveled to Carrollton on August 10th/11th to play in the TAV Nike Invitational in their first tournament of the season. The team played pool play on Friday and picked up wins against Iowa Park (23-25, 25-14, 25-18) and Plano JV (25-21, 25-10, 21-25). Meagan Cope had 16 kills on the day, and Junior Kylee Anderson added 29 digs as she steps into the libero roll this season. On Saturday the Lady Lions began bracket play and started the day off with a win against Plano East JV (25-20, 25-18). The team then fell to Kennedale in game two (21-25, 14-25), beat Plano JV again (25-18, 25-21) and fell short against Prince of Peace (23-25) to finish up the day. The teams 4-2 record in the tournament was good for 4th place in Division 2. Meagan Cope led the team on Saturday with 25 kills and 26 digs, and Sadie Dearing added 10 kills. Meagan Cope earned All-Tournament honors for the tournament as well.

The Lady Lions then took on the Nocona Lady Indians at home on Tuesday, August 14th. The team jumped on Nocona quick and took the first two sets 25-14 and 25-22 in dominating fashion. The Lady Indians battled back the sets three and four, though, and got set wins of 23-25 and 21-25. In a deciding fifth set, the Lady Lions grinded out a 15-13 win in an exciting finish. Senior Caroline Hicks led the team with 12 kills, and Meagan Cope and Averee Tipton each had 3 aces.

On August 17th and 18th, the Lady Lions traveled to Glen Rose for their second tournament of the season. The team played four pool games on Friday and posted an impressive 4-0 record. The wins came against NCTA (25-13, 25-10), Benbrook (25-13, 25-17), Millsap (26-24, 25-18) and a comeback win vs. Abilene Wylie (20-25, 25-18, 25-23). Meagan Cope (30), Sadie Dearing (19), and Junior Sterling Wilkinson (21) combined for 70 kills on the day. During Saturday bracket-play, the team was put into the Gold Bracket based on their undefeated pool-play record, and saw bigger schools and tougher competition than the day before. The team opened the day with a breezy win against Rio Vista (25-15). After an morning dub, the team fell to state-ranked, district foe Callisburg (25-23, 10-25, 13-25), and then again to Denton High (16-25, 20-25). The team put together a 5-2 overall record in the tournament and finished in the top 8. Harper Mulkey led the team with 18 kills on Saturday, and Kylee Anderson added 30 digs.

The Lady Lions returned home to take on the Paradise Lady Panthers on Tuesday, August 21st. The game lasted less than an hour as the team dismantled a struggling Paradise team in three sets, with scores of 25-6, 25-12, and 25-8. Harper Mulkey had a nice game with 11 kills, and senior McKayla Pittman added 3 aces in the win as well.

The Lady Lions now get set for the Argyle Tournament on Thurday 8/23 and Saturday 8/25, with a game on the road against Tioga on Friday in between. The team now holds an 11-3 regular season record with 2 weeks to go until the start of district play.

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