By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - Tuesday didn't start well for the Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs.
But by 7:30 p.m., most of the day's problems were long gone.
Cove head coach Cari Lowery was done worrying about the gym's video equipment that wasn't working for whatever reason.
Or the miscommunication that meant Cove and visiting Burnet played without official referees, instead using a few volunteers and a couple of student helpers.
Her team did what it needed to do though. And the Lady Dawgs even got a pleasant surprise along the way in putting away Burnet 25-19, 25-22, 25-18.
"It was just one of those days," Lowery said. "We're in in-service and they're doing nothing all day long then showing up for a game or practice. When school starts next week, I'll be expecting a whole lot more."
The Lady Dawgs (8-2) did get a lift and possible extra piece to their rotation in sophomore Destiny Henderson.
"I'm pleased with (the day) because I got to see Destiny and she did a good job. That helps because Carlie (Tuiasosopo) wasn't playing well tonight and that's going to happen," said Lowery, adding senior middle blocker Andrea Hurt played through shoulder pain. "People - especially when they're young - can get down on themselves and you just almost can't get them back up sometimes.
"Destiny stepped right in there. She's been never been in that spot at all. ... She got in there and was fearless."
Normally a defensive player, Henderson played in the final two games and did so at the net as well as the back row.
She picked up a kill early in Game 3, then added another to put Cove up 16-10 and force a Burnet (6-4) timeout.
During one sequence, Burnet's frontline blocked a Henderson kill attempt. She dug out the ball and kept it in play, however, and moved over to block a Burnet kill.
"I was hoping for what I saw," Lowery said. "I was expected her to just get in there, be aggressive and cover her spot, but I wasn't expected to get in there, be fearless and hit it.
"I like those little aggressive and fearless ones."
Should Henderson force her way back into the lineup, she'll join an already offensive-minded Cove team that kept Burnet on its heels throughout the match.
While both teams put runs together, most of Burnet's consecutive points didn't come from its own play, but rather mistakes on the other side of the net. The Lady Bulldogs fell behind 20-12 in Game 1, holding off game point three times - twice on Cove errors - before a serving error ended it.
Hurt led Cove with 10 kills, while Qiana Canete (nine) and Lily Ayala (eight) were close behind.
"Copperas Cove has a great offense - very quick, very powerful hitters," Burnet head coach Bethany Grissom said. "And we were kind of on the defense the whole time. I never thought we were able to get any offense brewing."
Game 2 was the closest of the three and featured 11 ties. Burnet held a 16-15 lead, but the Lady Dawgs answered with five of the next six points.
Burnet rallied again, tying it at 21-all, but Cove pushed through and scored four of the game's final five points.