By Angel Verdejo
The Cove Herald
KILLEEN - Ellison is trying to become what the Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs already are - a perennial playoff team. The Lady Eagles haven't been to the postseason since 2006 and Cove hasn't missed it in five years.
But even after her Lady Dawgs swept Ellison on the road Tuesday (25-12, 25-13, 25-9), Cove head coach Cari Lowery said the Lady Eagles are a team that might surprise some people.
"Yes - absolutely," Lowery said. "Ellison beat Temple Friday night in three. So absolutely Ellison can - they really have athletes."
Ellison showed some of that, doing its best damage to Cove right at the start.
Kills from Savannah Loris and Megan McKinnon sandwiched a Malaysia Hope and Ocleta Young combination block in Game 1, putting the Lady Eagles (12-16, 1-1 12-5A) up 3-0 just seconds into the match. Loris followed with an ace to make it 4-0 before a Carlie Tuiasosopo kill put Cove (22-7, 2-0) on the board.
Ellison pushed it to 5-2 before Cove answered with its own run.
"It's just getting ready to that point," Ellison head coach William De Gracia said. "I thought we were ready - we started toe to toe. But as soon as we got to seven points, we forgot the fundamentals.
"We made little mistakes and we started dwelling on the mistakes."
It was just the first of many runs for the Lady Dawgs and something the Lady Eagles could never find an answer for. Down 5-2, Cove scored the next five points to go up by two points. Three of the five points were Lady Eagle errors.
Ellison cut it to one point before Cove made another run - scoring six straight points to pull ahead 16-8.
A Kortni Taylor block ended the run, but Cove came right back with six of the next seven points to stretch its lead into double digits.
"That team - you can't take anything away (from them). They're awesome," De Gracia said of the Lady Dawgs. "They're strong and they're quick. That's the level of ball that we want to play.
"I want my girls to play at that level and that's where we're going to get."
Cove continued on through the next two games. Game 2 saw runs of six and eight points in a row, while the Lady Dawgs scored 11 straight points in the finale and 16 of the match's final 19 points.
"I thought we played consistent all the way through, which is something we've been working on," Lowery said.
Copperas Cove def. Shoemaker 25-3, 25-13, 25-15 (Sept. 9) - At Copperas Cove, the Lady Bulldawgs used a lopsided opening game to take control and sweep Shoemaker to start District 12-5A play.
Sophomore Qiana Canete had a team-high three blocks to go with nine kills for Cove, while Andrea Hurt led the way with 10 kills. Claire Taylor had 10 digs to go with a team-best four aces, while senior setter Amy Rosenbaum put up 32 assists.