HATLEY – The Hatley Lady Tigers were swept by Itawamba AHS on Thursday night 3-0 by scores of 25-22, 25-20, 25-20 but found plenty of improvements as their first season as a team starts to come to a close.
“We were in there for all three sets, and we competed hard,” Hatley coach Chris George said. “Our serves are getting better. We are communicating better on the court, and we gave ourselves a chance tonight. Unfortunately we came out on the losing end, but I have zero complaints about tonight’s game. I’m proud of the girls and the way they got after it.”
Hatley jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set, but Itawamba fought back and took a 7-6 lead. The Lady Tigers weren’t done, going back on top both at 10-9 and 12-11 and getting back up by three.
The Lady Indians retook the lead before three straight service aces from Aspen Johnson put Hatley back on top at 21-20. IAHS got the lead back and scored the final two points to take the 25-22 win.
IAHS went up 3-0 in the second set before the Lady Tigers came back and tied the game. IAHS led by as many as six three different times, but Hatley made it interesting, cutting it to four late before falling 25-20.
The third set saw the Lady Indians get another big lead before Hatley tied the game again. IAHS went back on top 7-6 and led by as many as eight before Hatley cut it to four once again.
They trailed by six again before an Emma Rose Thompson kill made it 22-17 and then 22-18, but the Lady Indians hung on for another 25-20 win and the sweep.
Thompson led with five kills, while Madison Mitchell had four kills. Kenlee Wilkinson had two kills and five aces, while Johnson had four aces.
“This game just shows our future is bright,” George said. “We know how to pass the ball and set the ball, and the two things we have struggled with all year is hitting and serving. Tonight, we served it pretty well and our hitting has gotten a lot better.
George said he’s continuing to see his team improve, building off their first win against Okolona two weeks ago.
“Emma Rose has done well at the net, and Madison (Mitchell) has gotten to where she’s a force when she’s on the front,” he said. “Chloe (Wilbanks) is all over the court as a setter. Jessie (McHenry) is getting good on her serves, and then we have Aspen (Johnson) coming off the bench with rocket serves. They are all standing out, and it’s not just one of them that’s gotten better. They all have, and that’s allowing us to compete with better teams.”