ROBINSON — Copperas Cove brought out the broom as the eighth-ranked Lady Dawgs swept the gold bracket competition Saturday at the Robinson Volleyball Tournament.
For the past eight years, the Lady Dawgs have taken part in the Volleypalooza tournament, but this season was different.
When head coach Cari Lowery did not receive a bracket for this year’s tournament in Leander, the response she got when she reached out came as a surprise.
“‘Oh, coach, we don’t have you in that tournament and we can’t get you in’ — click,” Lowery said of the conversation. “That was it; they just dropped us.”
Last weekend Cove wasn’t even sure it would have a tournament to compete in.
“We looked at San Marcos, we looked in Dallas,” Lowery said. “Nobody could get us in.
“It is what it is, hopefully it works out for us.”
While most tournament brackets were already set, Cove was grateful to get into Robinson. The Lady Dawgs started the tournament by going undefeated Thursday.
“They know it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish,” Lowery said of her players, noting that their maturity also helps. “All those rankings don’t mean anything, all those records don’t mean anything.
“It’s just taking one game at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time.”
Gatesville advanced to the championship round of the silver bracket.
Despite a strong start, the Hornets’ eight-game winning streak came to an end with two losses Thursday.
“We just got outplayed by two really good teams,” coach Rickey Phillips said. “Our goal is to be 3-0 (today), because we should be.”
The Lady Dawgs started the morning with an early victory over Fairfield. Cove then cruised to the championship match with a win over Lago Vista (25-8, 25-8).
After going undefeated throughout both days of competition, the Lady Dawgs faced the host team, the Robinson Rockettes, in the championship.
The first set was a back-and-forth battle, but after a slow start, Cove pulled out the win, 25-19.
The Lady Dawgs started the second set a lot stronger than the first and quickly went ahead 11-3.
The Rockettes chipped away at Cove’s lead until errors from miscommunication and wild passes stalled their rally.
The Lady Dawgs (25-1) then finished off a 25-12 victory to take the championship and fine-tune their game before returning to district competition next week.
“It’s really just about learning on the fly and making adjustments,” Lowery said. “They work together well; they’re proud of each other.”
“They’re ready to finish tournament season and start district season next week.”
Aidan Chace recorded eight kills, seven digs and seven assists in the finale. Leah Powell recorded seven kills and eight digs, while Kristen Wasiak had 15 digs.
Cove has won two tournament this season. They topped a field of 42 to win the Austin ISD Invitational earlier this month.
After sweeping the competition at last weekend’s Gatesville Invitational, including a championship victory over Class 6A Ellison, which Gatesville won in two sets (25-23, 25-23), the Hornets had their eyes set on qualifying for the gold bracket.
The Hornets started the morning with an overall record of 11-10 and lost two players to injuries.
Gatesville took a morning win over Nacogdoches (25-10, 25-11) but the celebration was brief as senior outside hitter Sydney Farrell went down on the final play.
Farrell appeared to have issues with her left ankle and was helped by her teammates to the bench.
As the Hornets prepared to face Waco La Vega in the early afternoon, Farrell’s left ankle was wrapped and she was on crutches.
Gatesville quickly adjusted on the court, starting the first set with an 11-0 against La Vega. The Hornets won 25-12, 25-7 and advanced to face Waco Reicher in the championship match.
Gatesville kept the first set close, tying the score nine times, but fell 26-24, 25-18.
Senior Maci Matthews recorded six digs and eight assists across the three games Saturday. Sophomore Kourtnee Mathews tallied 12 digs, five aces and six block-assists.
“We’ve shown that if we put one, two and three together, we’re pretty good,” Phillips said of his team’s ability to pass, set and attack. “But if we don’t put one, two and three together, we struggle.”
SATURDAY’S HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
Academy Lady Bee Classic
- Ellison def. Waco University 25-13, 25-14
- Ellison def. Lorena 25-16, 25-19
- Ellison def. Academy 24-26, 25-22, 25-21
- Belton def. Pflugerville 25-17, 25-22
- Belton def. Leander 25-15, 25-18
- Copperas Cove def. Fairfield 25-7, 25-14
- Copperas Cove def. Robinson 25-19, 25-12
- Copperas Cove def. Lago Vista 25-8, 25-8
- Gatesville def. Nacogdoches 25-10, 25-11
- Waco Reicher def. Gatesville 26-24, 25-18
- Gatesville def. Waco La Vega 25-12, 25-7