Lady Wolves claim #1 seed for playoffs
By Rodney White
The Lady Wolves who have not lost a district match in two years continued their dominance of district 1-3A with a hard fought battle against the number two team in the district, the Lubbock Cooper Lady Pirates. All the hard work paid off as Dalhart will now be the #1 seed from our district as they advance in the playoffs. The Lady Wolves won 25-23, 25-18, 25-20, but Cooper gave the Lady Wolves all they could handle.
This was a big game for both teams, the Cooper girls came in Friday night so they would be rested up for Saturday’s game. If the Pirates would have won, they would have moved into a tie for first place with Dalhart, so both teams knew what was at stake. Both teams played great, but it was the balanced attack from Dalhart that really made a big difference as the blocking game for Dalhart never got in sync. The Lady Wolves continued to serve well and place the ball in all the right places. Mallory Jeffers seems to have an uncanny ability to find the open spot in the opponent’s defense, and she placed the ball well all night. Marlee Reynolds continued to play through a lot of pain, but was still dominant with seven kills. The balance provided by Katelyn Albers who led the team with 11 kills, along with eight from Mallory, six from Sarah Cover, four from Abbie Steele, and three from the amazing setter Shelby Wilt kept the Cooper blockers guessing all night. The Lady Wolves are now 29-9 and 8-0 in district play with two games remaining.
Game one was a real battle with Cooper keeping the Lady Wolves off balance with some great serves. Dalhart took their biggest lead after a great dig by Kelly Simpson allowed Marlee to kill the ball and make the lead 13-9. But the Lady Pirates dug in and took the lead back with Dalhart taking a time out trailing 15-17. The Lady Wolves tied the game at 20 and 22. Shelby Wilt leaped into the air to kill the ball and regain the lead 23-22. Shelby then used a quick short set to Mallory for a point at 24-23, and Abbie Steele sealed the victory at 25-23.
The Lady Wolves knew they couldn’t let Cooper get any more momentum and stepped up their level of play for game two. Again, the Dalhart blocks were falling short and giving the Lady Pirates the easy points. Dalhart also committed four service errors which is very uncharacteristic for the strong serving Lady Wolves. Wilt again led the team with a block at 1-1, then a kill for 2-1. Albers served an ace at 5-1. Marlee and Mallory had a block assist at 6-5. Benji Romero served an ace at 14-11. Molly Kruse came in and served an ace to make the score 21-14, and a service error by Cooper sealed the game at 25-18.
Cooper had their backs to the wall and took the early lead in the third set. Shelby Wilt chased the ball way out of bounds and set the ball to Steele for a kill at 3-5, then Shelby set the ball to Mallory for a kill to make the score 5-7. Shelby set the ball to Sarah Cover who smashed the ball right on the back line for a kill to give Dalhart the lead for good at 10-9. Every dig was important as people had pledged money for every dig to help with Breast Cancer Awareness. Benji Romero added to the total with a fantastic dig that allowed Katelyn Albers to swing for a vicious kill at 12-9. The Pirates started to chock, and hitting errors on the last two plays gave Dalhart the match victory 25-20.
The Lady Wolves will be at home Tuesday night against Borger. Saturday Estacado will come to town for the last home volleyball game.
Individual Statistics: Kills: Katelyn Albers 11, Mallory Jeffers 8, Marlee Reynolds 7, Sarah Cover 5, Abbie Steele 4, Shelby Wilt 3; Blocks: Mallory Jeffers 4, Marlee Reynolds 3, Abbie Steele 3, Sarah Cover 2, Katelyn Albers 1, Shelby Wilt 1; Aces: Albers 1, Benji Romero 1, Molly Kruse 1; Digs: Wilt 11, Riley Dunham 9, Brynn Dunham 3, Kelly Simpson 3, Albers 3, Romero 3, Wilt 1; Assists: Wilt 30, Steele 2, Riley Dunham 1, Albers 1, Romero 1, Simpson 1.