CULLMAN – Cullman took on Austin and no.3 Carbon Hill in tri-match volleyball action tonight. The Lady Bearcats fought hard, but fell 2-1 to the Lady Black Bears and got swept 2-0 by the Lady Bulldogs.
Austin (2-1) over Cullman:
Cullman came out strong in game one. After Austin cut the lead to 4-3 early on a kill by Aleah Wesley, Cullman scored five straight points, led by senior Lauren Evans and freshman Kada Milne, to take a 9-3 lead. The Lady Bearcats were able to hold off multiple late runs by the Lady Black Bears, including when they saw their lead cut to 20-19, and get big performances from almost everyone on the roster, to take the first game, 25-21.
Game two belonged to Austin. The Lady Black Bears jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after a block point and a kill by Lakimya Thomas and an ace by Mia Pensa, and increased it to 8-2 after a block point by Wesley. Led by Anna Evans on back-to-back aces, the Lady Bearcats cut it to 8-5, but the Lady Black Bears proved to be too much, outscoring Cullman, 17-3, to even it out at one a piece.
In game three, Austin again got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 4-1 lead. But Cullman continued to try to get back in the game, and did. The Lady Bearcats got big points from Anna Evans, and two aces by Eastman gave the Lady Bearcats a 5-4 lead. It went back-and-forth before the Lady Black Bears scored four straight points, three of them on aces by Madelyn Massey, to take an 11-7 lead. Cullman got big kills from Milne and Anna Evans to help the Lady Bearcats tie it up at 12, and an Anna Evans block point gave Cullman a 13-12 lead and looked to win the set, but big points down the stretch by Thomas helped Austin win 15-13, and took the Lady Black Bears series 2-1.
Carbon Hill (2-0) over Cullman:
Cullman looked to bounce back against the no.3 Carbon Hill Lady Bulldogs.
Game one was a battle as the Lady Bearcats fought hard on every phase to take some games against a top-5 team. Some big points by Anna Evans, Milne, Rocca and Eastman helped Cullman stick with Carbon Hill for most of the contest, including cutting it to 16-13 after a point by Milne, but the Lady Bulldogs pulled away late to take the first game, 25-16.
Game two was exactly like game one, with Cullman hanging tough with Carbon Hill for the whole contest. After an Amanda Hill ace cut the Austin lead to 8-7, five straight points by the Lady Bulldogs stretched their lead to 13-7. There was absolutely no quit in the Lady Bearcats as they continued to put the pressure on Carbon Hill, cutting it to 17-16 after an ace by Anna Evans. Even after the score swelled to 23-16, Cullman refused to quit, cutting it to 24-19, but they came up short, 25-19, to lose the series, 2-0.
Anna Evans, Milne, Eastman, Lauren Evans, Emily Apel and others stepped up big against Austin and Carbon Hill and showed no quit in all the games, continuing to fight and play hard, impressing first-year head coach Meagan Cagle.
"They fought and played really hard tonight." Cagle said. "Anna Evans, Lauren Evans and Emily Apel have become the leaders of this team. They talked with them, communicated with them on where they need to move to, and that has really helped them out. I knew it was going to be a rebuilding year for us this season. We lost a lot of seniors after last season; we've had some people move. We've had to move a lot of people around during the month of September; they didn't know where they were going to be during that month and wanted to get our lineups set when October hit. All I ask for the girls right now is that they compete. We tried that set rotation today and thought it looked good. Over the last two weeks, we are starting to hit our stride."
Cullman will have another tri-match tomorrow at home against Brewer and Jasper.
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