Keith MacPherson, Sports Editor
Gainesville Daily Register
GAINESVILLE — It didn’t take long for Gainesville to show this is a new season when it took the court on Friday.
The Lady Leopards, who only won one league game a year ago, rolled past Bridgeport 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 for the sweep in their District 9-3A opener at Gainesville High School.
“It feels great to get this first district win under our belts,” Gainesville coach Laura Mehl said. “Last year this team won only one district game and it was the last game of the season. So for them to be able to come out the first game and get a win, I was real happy for them.
“It’s really a testament to how hard they have worked.”
Gainesville (27-6, 1-0) was led by the combo of Whytneigh Duffie and Ariannah Kemp against the Sissies. The two juniors had eight kills apiece.
Duffie made her presence known in the third and final set when she connected on three kills during a Lady Leopard run that saw them go up by as many as 14 points.
Kemp had a hand in the final set, as well, as the junior’s steady serve helped the Lady Leopards go on an early 6-0 run.
Gainesville fell behind in the early going of the first two sets as they would fall behind 5-2 in the first and 7-2 in the second before storming back.
Lady Leopard middle blocker Cayla Conway ended a four-point Bridgeport rally in the second set when she scored on a viscous kill to tie the set at 11-11. Gainesville would go to win the set 25-18.
Gainesville’s Brittany Royal also played the part of the stopper in the third set as she had a kill immediately following a Mehl timeout to end a 7-1 Bridgeport run and make it 22-16 at the time. The Lady Leopards scored the next three points to take the match.
The Lady Leopards will travel to play Decatur at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday as they continue District 9-3A play.
“It should be a real good game,” Mehl said. “They are supposed to be one of the better teams in the district. We’re excited about it.”