By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
GATESVILLE – Some things stayed just as they have been during the early weeks of the volleyball season.
Copperas Cove, which had 10 wins in 10 matches through Tuesday, picked up three more victories Thursday to open play in the Gatesville Tournament. The Lady Dawgs already have one tournament championship, winning their own tournament last weekend, and put themselves in position for another with wins over Lampasas, Liberty Hill and Taylor.
"Today we meshed well as a team," said Cove assistant coach Sarah Holmes. "You play a lot of different teams and you never know what is coming. You just get back on defense and you never give up on anything."
Cove continued on a trend it's put together for most of the season – not dropping a game. The Lady Dawgs' closest game was the 25-23 finale against Lampasas. Cove faces Rogers in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Gatesville High new gym.
Rogers beat Waco La Vega, Burnet and Pflugerville Hendrickson to set up its meeting with Cove.
The other semifinal features the host team, as Gatesville dominated Marlin for its third win on the day. The two teams played a close first game (25-23), before Gatesville outside hitter Shelby Watson and middle blocker Glynna Johnson got in tune with setters Kaitlin Poe and Skye Truss. What resulted was a run after run, as Gatesville jumped out to a 13-4 lead and followed with a 10 straight points before winning the game 25-9.
"They're starting to gel and taking their lumps along the way," Gatesville assistant coach Ken Fowler said. "It's just a lot of fundamentals that they do everyday and it pays off in the long run."
Gatesville will play Lago Vista in its semifinal at 3 p.m. at the new gym.
For other local teams, the tournament's opening day wasn't as friendly. Harker Heights and Florence dropped their first-round games, and with the bracket set-up, both won't play again until Saturday. The Lady Knights' play concerned head coach Chris Wiley, but the short day didn't.
"We've played nine games in two weeks so lacking games isn't one of problems," Wiley said. "We've lacked a little bit of practice time due to that, but like I said, it's one of those things where that's really not a determining factor. You have to come out and play your game game in and game out."
Harker Heights, which Wiley called a "defensive-minded" team, struggled with just that against an attacking and aggressive Marlin.
Shoemaker and Salado both rebounded from first-round losses. The Lady Wolves lost to Hillsboro only to bounce back three hours later with a win over Hamilton.
"That's one thing we've been working on since the beginning," Shoemaker coach Stacy Halim said of coming back from the loss. "We have good things happening in little spurts and we're trying to continue to keep it."
Salado dropped its opener to Liberty Hill, but later beat Lampasas.
Contact Angel Verdejo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7564