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Tigers win sets up major showdown

Jim Irish
Bastrop Advertiser Correspondent

Smithville powered past Manor New Tech 25-17, 25-8, 25-16 on Friday to set up a crucial District 20-4A volleyball match against La Grange.

The Tigers currently reside in third place in district with a 5-2 record (10-14 overall). La Grange and Giddings are tied for first place with 7-1 records. La Grange downed Giddings 25-23, 25-21, 25-22 in a close match on the road on Friday.

At home on Friday, Kiyanna Sampson led Smithville on offense with 15 kills on 22 hitting attempts and 5 errors for a .454 hitting percentage.

“Sampson was hard to stop,” Smithville coach David Leist said in an email.

Mihyia Davis, who plays all six rotations, contributed 7 aces, 13 points on serve, 5 kills, 23 assists, and 2 blocks.

“Davis is an all-around athlete and plays hard every game,” Leist said. “She learned to jump serve (last week), and it worked well for her.”

Nikolette Schmidt chipped in 10 kills on 16 attempts and 5 errors for a .312 hitting percentage.

Claire Kennon, a setter, had 20 assists, 4 aces, and 13 points on serve.

Brooke Otto, the libero, made 15 digs.

Gabby Lean added 3 aces and 11 points on serve.

Kaytlyn Henderson, a substitute, contributed five kills for a .571 percentage.

Manor New Tech (3-5) had only four kills in the match.

Smithville jumped ahead of La Grange 2-0 in sets in the first district match on the road on Sept. 26. But La Grange stormed back to win the next three sets, including the fifth 15-8.

This time, Smithville plays La Grange in the comfort of its own gym.

“La Grange is a tough team, but they are beatable,” Leist said. “We have to do a better job on defense and have to be more aggressive on offense. We have to keep our errors to a minimum. We have to be prepared for their big outside hitters.

La Grange’s outside hitters are Lanie Doyle, 185 kills for the season; and Natalie Blackwell, 178 kills. But sophomore setter Madison Fritz has a team-high 190 kills.