HOWE — The Dodd City Lady Hornets used a balanced attack Tuesday to grab momentum early and rolled to a 25-13, 25-9, 25-15 victory over the Howe Lady Bulldogs in non-district action.
As the season enters its third week, Dodd City head coach Alex Stephenson has the Lady Hornets keeping the approach they’ve used since the start of practice.
“We really don’t change anything,” Stephenson said. “We tell the kids all the time that we’re going to stick to the process, and that’s we do. Week 3 is the same as Week 1 and it’ll look the same in Week 16. We’ve just got to work hard every single day.”
Stephenson said the work is paying off for the Lady Hornets (11-6).
“I think we’re getting better every single game,” he said. “I told them there are things I’m seeing now that they couldn’t do a couple of weeks ago, and that’s a positive, for sure.”
The match featured a match-up of 6-foot-plus middle blockers in Dodd City freshman Journie Hilliard and Howe sophomore Ally Harvey.
“We’ve played several teams with the same as her, but normally we don’t,” Stephenson said. “It’ll help tremendously later on, I think.”
Howe head coach Meghan Garrett said the individual match-up will benefit Harvey when the Lady Bulldogs (1-13) open District 10-3A play in two weeks.
Hilliard finished with a match-high nine kills and a block, while Sarah Brent, Cassandra Woodlee and Delaney Pilliod each added six kills for Dodd City. Lady Hornets setter Abby Weeks had 22 assists to go along with a kill and a block, while Madelyn Underwood had a kill and an assist.
Pilliod led the Lady Hornets with three digs with Brent and Dani Baccus each getting two.
Cassidy Anderson had four kills and nine digs to lead Howe while Jenna Honore’, Molly Wilson and Harvey each had three kills. Lady Bulldogs setter Kylie Hopper finished with 11 assists. Honore’ added five digs with Wilson recording three. Harvey added a block and an ace.
Dodd City, a member of District 11-2A, never trailed in the match, though Howe managed to tie the score four times. In the opening set, kills by Weeks, Hilliard and Pilliod put the Lady Hornets ahead to stay.
After Howe rallied to within 7-5, Dodd City responded with a 7-2 run to go up 14-7 and take control. The Lady Bulldogs never got closer than four the rest of the way and the Lady Hornets closed out with a 10-2 run.
In the second set, Dodd City jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead, then used a four-point run to go up 13-5 and ended on an 11-2 run.
Howe battled to extend the match in the third set, tying the score three times and staying within two points before the Lady Hornets went up 12-7. The Lady Bulldogs rallied again, closing to within a point a 12-11 and 13-12 before Dodd City ran off five consecutive points to start a 12-3 run to end the match.
Stephenson said the Lady Hornets’ defense was the key to the victory.
“We try to play great defense every night and great things will happen,” he said.