Lady Dawgs outslug Liberty Hill in opener.
August 12, 2009
Lady Dawgs outslug Liberty Hill in opener Posted On: Tuesday, Aug. 11 2009 06:11 AM Bookmark and Share

Herald/NICK TALBOT
Copperas Cove’s Amy Rosenbaum (9) sets the ball up for a teammate in the Lady Bulldawgs’ season-opening win Monday in Liberty Hill.

By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald


LIBERTY HILL – Copperas Cove came out confused.

But it finished with a furious fire.

The Lady Bulldawgs shrugged off a slow start Monday to defeat Liberty Hill 25-19, 25-12 and 25-22 at Panther Gymnasium.

Michelle Blount, a senior, came up big in the middle, along with Kelly Kearns, as the Cove front line shut down Liberty Hill's Jackie Wattles, who has committed to play for Connecticut. Blount led the team with five blocks, while Kearns had three.

"That was their big gun," said Cove coach Cari Lowery. "I saw her in the warmup and I knew that is who they were going to go to. She is not only big and strong, but athletic."

Cove countered that athleticism with sheer size, and kept Wattles at bay for the majority of the night.

"I think the whole team played well and our blockers did a really good job. We are big, so it is intimidating," Lowery said.

Early on though, Cove struggled to find a rhythm, despite a back-and-forth game. The result was a 14-11 Liberty Hill lead.

"The first point of the game we were confused and we started off in the wrong rotation, but a good team comes back and we came back," said Cove outside hitter Kelly Kearns.

After consecutive blocks by Blount, the Bulldawgs finally took control and rolled off an 8-2 run that was culminated by a deep-drop shot by Blount. The shot gave Cove a 19-16 advantage.

A cross-court kill by Phyllicia Cross ended all hope of the Lady Panthers staying in the set. Cove outscored Liberty Hill 6-3 down the stretch to take the first set by six.

"We have only had two practices – like everyone else – and (starting slowly) is one thing that happened in the scrimmages as well," Lowery said. "It is something we have to work on."

In the second, Amber Moore had two kills in the set's first 10 points. The result was a 6-4 lead for the Bulldawgs. But, that was just the beginning.

A curveball hit by Cross ricocheted off the net and then two defenders to put Cove up 10-8. More importantly, it ignited an 8-0 run by the Bulldawgs and a 17-8 lead quickly grew into a 25-12 win.

The third set was not as easy.

Cove led the majority of the way, but Liberty Hill never went away and eventually took a 19-18 lead after a 6-1 run with Wattles sitting on the bench.

A couple of errors gave the lead right back to Cove, though.

And despite a huge kill by Wattles, Cove managed to fight back and take the set by three points.

"In that last timeout, coach told us … to play it like we would play the state championship," Kearns said.

Amy Rosenbaum led the team with 18 assists and Kenya Williams chipped in 13.

Cross was strong all around. She led the team in both aces and kills with five and eight, respectively, and was second in digs with 10. Moore led the team with 17 digs and also hammered home five kills.

"We just had a lot of fire," Rosenbaum said.

"…and we were ready to win."

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