By DARIN ALLRED
Register Sports Editor
The North Central Texas College Lady Lions volleyball team has been trying to find their rhythm all season long. With only three returning sophomores and eight freshmen, the team has struggled in their non-district schedule so far, but it looked like things were coming together after this past weekend when they finished second at their own tournament.
On Tuesday, the Lady Lions found out they still have some work to do before opening conference play next week as they fell to Paris Junior College 13-25, 26-24, 25-17, 17-25, 12-15 at Lions Fieldhouse.
North Central is now 7-16 overall and has a rematch with Paris Thursday before starting conference play next Tuesday at home against Temple College.
Against Paris, the Lady Lions had their chances to pull out a win after winning games two and three, but the Lady Dragons rallied to take game four and also won an exciting fifth game to go home with the victory.
In game one, NCTC took an early 4-2 lead, but Paris freshman Beau Bemish served seven-straight points to put the Dragons up 12-6.
Danielle Hazzard recorded a kill for the Lady Lions to bring them within five, but that would prove to be as close as they would get. Sam Smith and Ashley Lewis combined on a block, Jazz Montgomery had a kill, Kate Harrison got a point on a tip and Smith added another block for NCTC, but Paris got good serving from Adrienne Boswell and Hillary Baugh to take game one 25-13.
Game two proved to be exciting as Hazzard led her team to victory with six kills in the game. The Lady Lions led most of the way as Carrie Johnson and Hazzard had early kills to put NCTC up 5-2. Kills by Smith and Carmen Stallcup along with three service points by Andrea Davis helped the home team increase their lead to 14-9.
The Lady Lions kept their lead as Hazzard had another kill, Smith and Stallcup combined on a block and Smith recorded a kill at the net to make it 18-12. But Paris started to rally when Logan Anglin came to serve. She served four points and Heather Rigby added four more as the Lady Dragons eventually took a 21-20 lead.
It looked as if Paris would take game two when they increased their lead to 24-21, but after a sideout, Davis served four-straight points to give North Central a 26-24 win to even the match.
The third game swung on one big run. Despite kills by Johnson and Stallcup, the Lady Lions trailed 9-4 when Hazzard came to serve. The freshman from Salado then served 11-straight points including two aces. Smith had a kill and back-to-back blocks as NCTC went ahead 16-9.
From there, the two teams traded sideouts and the Lady Lions were able to hold on for a 25-17 win.
Needing just one more win to take the match, North Central took a 6-4 lead as Hazzard and Johnson had kills and Lewis added a block. But this time, it was Paris who used good serving to take control. Rigby served five-straight points as the Dragons went ahead 12-7.
Johnson recorded another kill to give NCTC a sideout. Stallcup had a kill, Hazzard had two more, and Johnson and Lewis each recorded kills as well, but it wasn’t enough as Paris took the fourth game 25-17 to force a fifth.
Game five was close throughout. Despite kills by Stallcup and setter Kate Harrison, the Lady Lions fell behind 5-3. They did battle back to take a 6-5 lead on another kill by Hazzard, but that would prove to be their only lead of the game.
Paris won five of the next six points to go up 10-7. The Lady Lions battled to get within one (11-10) thanks to kills by Smith and Johnson and a combo block by Harrison and Stallcup, but Baugh served the final two points to give the Lady Dragons a 15-12 win.
For the match, Danielle Hazzard had 14 kills and 11 digs; Sam Smith had 12 kills, 6 blocks and 3 digs; Kate Harrison had 26 assists, 2 kills and 7 digs; Carrie Johnson had 6 kills, 2 blocks and 5 digs; Carmen Stallcup had 6 kills and 5 blocks; Leslye Richmond had 15 digs; Ashley Lewis had 1 kill and 5 blocks; Andrea Davis had 13 digs; and Jazz Montgomery added a kill.
By DARIN ALLRED