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Cove volleyball off to a strong start

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Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 4:30 am

Cari Lowery could not ask for more.

Despite having a roster full of new faces, Copperas Cove put together a perfect start to the season, winning each of its first two games.

But the victories are not making the Lady Bulldawgs head coach gush over her team. Rather, it is their collective approach to the game.

“This team doesn’t even have to come together,” Lowery said. “They started out together. I’ve had very few teams in my career be more focused right out of the gate than this team right here.”

It is showing on the court.

The Lady Bulldawgs opened their season Monday at Leander Rouse, where they produced a straight-set win, beating the Lady Raiders 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 behind a 10-assist, six-kill and three-block performance from senior setter Mikayla Blount.

Along with the returning all-district first-team selection, 2013 all-district defensive player of the year Lexi Hall played a significant role in the outcome, recording 24 digs, while junior Katy Ranes finished with 14 assists.

The following night, Copperas Cove played its home opener against Leander Vandegrift, and after dropping the first set, the Lady Bulldawgs rebounded to maintain an unblemished record.

With senior outside hitter Destinee Branch accounting for a team-high 11 kills, Copperas Cove emerged with a 21-25, 25-12, 25-16, 25-22 victory. Additionally, Blount posted 23 assists to go with a pair of aces, while Perez finished with 31 digs and Ranes contributed 18 assists.

Individual stats are secondary, though. Lowery is quick to point out the team’s success is the result of a total team effort.

“Honestly, they’re all playing above expectations for this time of year,” she said. “We’re running faster practices, and our offense is a little bit faster than I expected it to be this early.”

Copperas Cove will look to keep its unbeaten streak intact this weekend as it competes in the three-day Austin Invitational Tournament before traveling to face Stony Point on Tuesday.

“We need to fine-tune a little bit of miscommunication and address the kind of first-week errors we had against Vandegrift,” Lowery said. “We also need to fine-tune the entire working together of people on the court. It’s just all those little things, but that’s what you do tournaments for.”

Outside of a few minor issues, Lowery has no complaints.

“They are truly as focused a team as I’ve ever had, particularly this early,” she said.

“They’re out there early for practice. They’re here when they’re supposed to be, and they’re focused when they’re not playing. I’m really excited about that.”

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