SWEENY — The Sweeny Lady Bulldogs came out with a vengeance Friday against visiting Stafford, wiping out the Lady Spartans in straight sets, 25-15, 25-16, 25-20, for their first win of the young season.
The Lady Bulldogs just had a better finish to each set which gave them the sweep.
“I thought we had a bit more energy tonight, but I still think we still have to come out of our comfort zone,” Sweeny coach Evaree Ray said. “I think once they find that it is OK to be loud — because I will be here for my team — that is when we will see some good volleyball.”
Each set was tight until the midway point, when the Lady Bulldogs ran off some points and capitalized on Stafford miscues.
In the first set, Sweeny built a 12-4 advantage behind aces from Lorelei Irby and big shots from Megan Kessler, Kierstyn Wesley, Asia Stauther and Kamryn Downs.
Stafford fought back with a 7-3 run as middle blocker Kayla Alexander and Aniyah Williams cam alive to pull within four points, 15-11.
Sweeny hit another burst as it finished on a 10-3 run, with Kessler bouncing a big shot off the defense to take a one-set lead.
The closing points of their season-opening loss might have set the tone Friday for the Lady Bulldogs.
“We came out timid and quiet in that match,” Ray said. “But in that last game, we were down 20-10 and all of a sudden started clicking. We started coming back, and I thought, ‘How come we don’t do that all of the time?’”
Ray shuffled her lineup Friday because of injuries, starting sophomores Strauther, Bri Perry and Ashley Dailey.
“Well, Adie Alford was out with an injury and we want her to heal properly and get back,” Ray said. “We are not rushing her to get back, but those youngsters will stay in there and get those repetitions.”
While the threesome showed inexperience at times, each also came up with big shots to help shape the match.
Four ties started the second set until Kessler put together back-to-back aces to give Sweeny a 6-5 advantage and built as much as a four-point lead. Stafford pulled back event, 12-12, after the Lady Bulldogs were called for a double hit.
The Lady Spartans didn’t hang around much longer after that. Kianna Holmes put Sweeny up 13-12 and the Lady Bulldogs weren’t trail from there, scoring 12 of the next 16 points. Irby finished up the second set with an ace.
Sweeny’s serving helped keep the matches close as the Lady Bulldogs gave up 12 points off net serves.
“Some were trying to place them in a certain area, but others weren’t, and like I told them afterward, over and in — and for those that don’t have a zone, that is their only job, over and in; get the ball over there,” Ray said.
In the third set, the Lady Bulldogs served six aces to go along with 12 kills, pulling away with another late rally. Kessler had three kills and three aces in that final set and Perry came up with a couple of big swings.
Sweeny will travel to Lamar Consolidated on Tuesday and head to the Dickinson Varsity Tournament next Thursday, where they will open against this same Stafford Lady Spartan squad.