For as long as Tiare Dugger can remember, Waco Midway has been a volleyball force.
While the Pantherettes are lacking their usual punch this season, the name can still a leave a mark.
“In past years, Midway has been such a good team, you hear the name Midway, you’re kind of get intimidated a little bit,” Dugger said. “I think that might have been a little bit of what happened tonight.”
Without any offensive rhythm, the Lady Roos were swept by their former 4A opponent 25-15, 25-19, 25-12 on Tuesday at Killeen High.
“We have the skills. But, it’ll be perfect on the pass and then pretty good on the set and then crappy on the hit. It’s never all at once. We can’t get it all together,” said Killeen coach Shelly Harris. “I have to credit that to being young.”
With just four seniors on the varsity roster, Killeen (18-22, 1-5 8-5A) didn’t challenge its former 8-4A rival until midway through the second game.
The Pantherettes (14-21, 3-3) jumped out to a 10-6 lead early, but failed to pull away like in the first and third games. A kill by Johlicia Williams and an ace by Madison Sapp cut the lead to 12-10 and forced Midway into a timeout. After jumping back out to a 14-10 lead, Midway committed four straight offensive mistakes to tie the game. The Lady Roos even took a 16-15 lead on another Midway hitting miscue.
But the Lady Roos committed four straight offensive errors themselves, including their fourth missed serve, that gave Midway a 19-16 lead. The Lady Roos trimmed a five-point deficit to 22-19 on a Chalon Anderson kill, but the Pantherettes scored three straight to close out the threat and then ran away in Game 3 for the sweep.
“When we get down, we tend get to quiet and stop talking as much,” Dugger said. “It’s something we’re working on, we’re fixing it throughout the season, but that’s one of our problems.”
Duggar and Alicia Brown led Killeen with five kills apiece and Anderson had four to go along with five digs. Esha Atkins had 12 assists and five digs. Atkins and Madison Sapp had two aces and Kiana Ware also had five digs.
Midway jumped out to big leads in both Game 1 and Game 3 and the Lady Roos were unable to sustain any rallies large enough to overcome the deficit. The Pantherettes scored seven of the first nine points in Game 1 and led 18-8 before Killeen made a run. The Lady Roos managed to trim the lead to just 20-13 following a block by Dugger. Tied at 8 early in Game 3, Midway scored eight straight points to take a 16-8 lead and close out the sweep by scoring nine of the final 13 points.
“It’s all a mental thing. We psych ourselves out when we step out onto the court sometimes and sometimes it shows,” Dugger said. “But, if we go out on the court and our mind’s where it needs to be, then we can put it all together.”