By James Harper
Killeen Daily Herald
FLORENCE - On a night when the Florence Lady Buffaloes were trying to continue their momentum in District 27-2A, they instead, continually halted it on their own.
The 25th-ranked Lady Buffs, who won their first district match last week in a dramatic five-game victory over Jarrell, set their eyes on an upset of No. 18 Cameron Yoe, hoping to secure an upset.
It didn't happen Tuesday as the Lady Buffs fell to the Lady Yoe 25-16, 25-18, 25-13.
"It's a bust to the momentum. It definitely cuts it down a little, especially after the big (win) against Jarrell," Florence coach Joanna Hensley said.
After falling behind 16-7 in Game 1, they fought back to a 20-15 deficit on sheer will, energy and some pretty good play by senior captain Lauren Michalka, who led the Lady Buffs (11-13, 1-5 27-2A) with eight kills. She scored on an ace, a block, a kill and also had two well-placed sets that allowed teammates to get kills.
After the Lady Buffs closed the score to 20-15, they ran out of gas and saw the Lady Yoe score five of the next six points. Four of those scores came on Florence errors.
Game 2 was more of the same for the Lady Buffs. Again, a series of errors and missed serves buried them in a deep hole.
"We have some great servers but sometimes we camouflage that," Hensley said.
Down 16-7 and faced with another comeback, Florence didn't quit.
Michalka again put the team on her back, with help from Haley Pluenneke, who led the team with 10 assists and added six digs. The two combined for three assists, two kills and two aces during a stretch that saw the Lady Buffs closed the Lady Yoe lead to 19-15. During that time, Rebecca Horton ripped off five straight serves for points.
"If we can get three or four good serves (in a row) we can get momentum. Good serves create (that)," said Hensley.
With Florence closing in, Cameron's Kausion Wells and Maeson Mondrik took over the game. Wells set Mondrik for four of the next six points and the Lady Yoe won the game.
The third game was dominated by Cameron and particularly Kausion Wells, who went on a nine-point serving binge that saw her team go up 20-9, all but ending any chance of the upset.
"I hope it puts a new fire under us and we can take that intensity into the next match," Hensley said.