John Tyler volleyball served notice of its future potential, registering 15 aces in a three-game sweep over Lufkin. Audrienne Williams, a senior defensive specialist, topped JT with six service aces in a 25-8, 25-12, 25-11 victory in the home opener Tuesday at the Lions Den.
Jennifer McGowan and Erica Franklin finished with three aces each as JT dominated, leading all but three points during the match. The Lady
Lions, fresh off a win in the gold bracket at the Carthage Tournament, improved to 6-2 on the young season.
The Lady Lions looked impressive in their Tyler debut with a 12-member squad sprinkled with six varsity newcomers, and minus the services of
a trio of three-year starters all playing college ball.
“That's the best we’ve played since we started,” JT coach Stephanie March-Smith said. “I told them ‘we're at home. We better play like we know how to play.’”
Franklin, a junior defensive specialist, totaled a team-best 16 serves to go with five digs. Williams paced JT with nine digs and added 13 serves. Kashanti Flowers, a 5-10 sophomore middle blocker, led the Lady Lions with five kills. McGowan and Amicia Williams (junior outside hitter) followed with four kills apiece.
Quaneshia Johnson (junior setter) tallied 12 assists while Toya Harmon (senior defensive specialist) collected six digs to go with seven serves. Ambrianna Mitchell, a senior defensive specialist, helped with 11 serves, including one ace.
The JT middle stood tall with four blocks — two from McGowan and one each from Flowers and Breanna Choice (junior outside blocker). All 12
players in uniform received playing time, including seniors Miami Cox (outside blocker) and Shakel Smith (outside hitter), and freshman De De Rouge (outside blocker).
“Kashanti did well and Jennifer was on her job. She served a good first game,” March-Smith said. “I have options.”
Audrienne Williams started the match with five straight serves, including three aces in succession, as JT cruised in the opening set. McGowan, a senior middle blocker coming off an all-district season, later stepped to the line to serve six consecutive points, with two aces mixed in, as JT moved ahead 15-4.
Lufkin led a total of two points in the second game before JT surged ahead with more solid serving. Williams swung for three straight aces to make it a 15-7 advantage. McGowan added two blocks and a thunderous kill before two Lufkin service errors closed out the game.
Franklin grabbed the spotlight in the closer, serving six straight points with two aces to give JT a 17-6 cushion.
“They work on serving aggressive,” March-Smith said. “I thought they ran well for the free ball and passed well.”
LIONS’ TALES: The schools split the sub-varsity matches with the John Tyler JV (2-2) prevailing in three games (25-14, 22-25, 25-10) and Lufkin winning the freshman affair in straight games. JT travels to Groesbeck for tournament play starting Thursday. The Lady Lions return home Aug. 25-27 for the Tyler Invitational.