GATESVILLE — It’s not just bread and butter anymore.
The Gatesville Lady Hornets used to depend on seniors Ashley Cook and Paige Chambers to score the majority of their points, but after Tuesday’s thrilling come-from-behind-win over the visiting Groesbeck Lady Goats during a tri-meet, Cook sees a new sandwich on the menu.
Gatesville beat Groesbeck 18-25, 24-26, 26-24, 25-18, and 15-11 and swept Taylor. 25-16, 25-14 and 25-16.
“We had to pull together like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it’s not just bread and butter anymore,” said Cook. “It’s everyone together. We all have a spot to fill. We know when they’re blocking me that someone else can get the job done.”
The Lady Hornets improved to 15-1 on the season despite trailing two games to none and down by three late in Game 3.
A Cook kill pulled Gatesville within two points and a Lady Goat error and rotation penalty tied the score at 24-24 until back-to-back aces by senior Lauren Nichols sealed the Hornets’ win, 26-24, in Game 3.
“We started to right the ship a little bit in Game 3, we made very few mental mistakes and we owned our share of the net and we served aggressively,” said Gatesville head coach Rickey Phillips.
Game 4 wasn’t as close as the previous two, but it was highly contested.
An 8-1 run led by the serving of Paige Chambers and sophomore Mikayla Heckmann put the score at 11-3. Cook scored three kills during the stretch to add to her match-leading 17 kills to go with her six blocks.
But the Lady Goats (13-8) refused to quit. Trailing 11-4, Groesbeck used several Lady Hornet mistakes as well as back-to-back aces by Micaela Gallagher and two kills by Jacoya McCullen to pull within one at 17-16.
It would get no closer as Gatesville pulled away with Paige Chambers serving, along with two more Cook kills and three digs by Megan Chambers that kept the ball alive for the Lady Hornets. Cook ended the game on a kill assisted by Paige Chambers and the match was even at two games-a-piece.
“It’s all a team effort, but to get the game-winning kill means a lot because I want my teammates to trust me,” Cook said. “I want them to know that I will come through for the team.”
Phillips didn’t see the first two losses as anything his squad was doing wrong but more what the opposition was doing right.
“Groesbeck whipped our tail the first two games and we made some mental mistakes but they were out working us,” Phillips said. “(Early in the match) they were punching our lights out and we weren’t defending ourselves.”
He credits his five seniors for not letting the team get defeated, as well as touting sophomores Lexi Hall and Heckmann, among others, for stepping up and becoming juniors rather than sit-and-wait as sophomores can be apt to do.
“They did a great job in keeping everybody up and focused,” Phillips said of his seniors. “Every Lady Hornet was diving and working to earn the win.”
“We’re not always the best team but we are always gonna hustle. Our goal is to out hustle everybody every game,” Cook said. “I’m really excited that we pulled together as a team and finished it. This gives us momentum going forward because it shows when we work together good things are gonna happen.”
“Those are the kind of games that you hope will help you in a playoff game or a big district game,” Phillips added.