Italy — The Lady Gladiators floored 3 separate volleyball teams this past Tuesday including a freshman, a JV and the varsity Lady Gladiators as Italy hosted it third and final round-robin of the summer. Participating were in the event were both Palmer and Venus.
Overall, each Italy team is playing and competing at a high level. For the Lady Gladiators, they battled from behind in the first set to surpass Venus for the win and then continued rolling to take the next two sets for their first sweep of a team this season.
Junior setter Bailey Eubank has truly been on the mark this summer setting up her strikers Madison Washington, Kortnei Johnson, Jaclynn Lewis, Paige Westbrook and Halee Turner. Worth mentioning were freshman Cassidy Childers who was solid on the back court and Tara Wallis who is always a contributor. Venus had a couple of tall trees with fingers branched out for Italy to contend with but the Lady Gladiators soon cut them down to size with head coach Morgan Mathews keeping the axe sharpened on the sideline with her energy and cheering.
After Palmer and Venus duked it out with Venus winning 3 sets to 1, Coach Mathews try to regroup her lady soldiers for an interesting matchup against Palmer and a chance to exit the round-robin 2-0. The first set proved to be a nail biter with the score tied 24-24 in the first set and the eventual victor needing to win by 2-points.
With Palmer serving, Italy suffered from miscommunication on two consecutive plays to relinquish the 2-points Palmer needed for the win without any resistance, 26-24. Although frustrated by the way the first set had ended, the Lady Gladiators valiantly tried to even things up in the second set but again the decision would go to Palmer who got the win by narrow margin, 25-23. The back-to-back heart breakers were too much to overcome for Italy who were quickly overtaken by the surging Lady Bulldogs 25-17 to win the final match of the round-robin 3-0.
Italy’s joys of sweeping Venus were soon swept away after Palmer’s three game sweep over the Lady Gladiators However, each team had something to build from with all three towns winning one match for the day. Italy defeated Venus, Venus defeated Palmer and Palmer defeated Italy.
Despite the loss to Palmer, there were several individual efforts worth noting for Italy including sophomore Cassidy Childers who was solid on the back line and Turner, a sophomore, who was moved up from the JV squad to add another weapon into the lineup. Lewis made some great low digs while Eubank kept right on doing what she does, loading the canons with volley-bombs. Firing the canons were Johnson and Washington while Westbrook, Lewis and even Eubank a couple of times tried to wall against any counter attacks by the Lady Bulldogs.
The first two sets were so close, Italy is right there. Coach Mathews has her girls primed for a solid season which, by all accounts, should be an exciting one!