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Volleyball: Lady M's sweep Lady Jags for key win
FLOWER MOUND -- Playing against your crosstown rival is always a big match. But with Flower Mound and Marcus both dropping their respective District 8-5A openers on Friday, Tuesday's showdown had even more importance in what figures to be a tight race for the playoffs.
The Lady Marauders (1-1) can breathe a bit easier now that they have a leg up on the Lady Jaguars (0-2) as Marcus made the most of their home-court advantage winning a 3-0 sweep (25-21, 25-20, 25-22).
"This was a big, big win for us," said Cristie Liles, Marcus coach. "We really needed it and we have another big one Friday against Plano West. This match went a lot better for us and hopefully we can build on it."
While the Lady Marauders continue Friday against West (2-0), Flower Mound will look to bounce back at Plano Senior (1-1).
"I think we've played two of the tougher teams in the district to start," said Marci Brinkman, Flower Mound coach, of its first two matches against Hebron and Marcus. "I mean everyone is going to be tough and anything can happen, so we're going to keep working on what we need to do and I definitely still see a bright future ahead for this team. Our spirits are still high and we know what we have to do to get better."
One area where the Lady Jaguars are seeking improvement is with errors, which was again a trouble spot for Flower Mound Tuesday against Marcus.
"We just made way too many errors," Brinkman said. "That's pretty much it. We gave them way too many points on hitting errors, serving errors and receiving errors. I think it was just a lack of focus on our part. We were behind and kept it close but for the most part. But we were never able to push ahead or gain any distance and it was mainly because of our hitting errors."
While Flower Mound was still making mistakes, Marcus cleaned up its act following Friday's defeat against Plano East.
"It went a lot better," Liles said. "We were much better on our errors and much better on seeing the holes on the floor and that's what we wanted to do. It was much better all around."
The Lady Marauders jumped out to early leads on Flower Mound in each of the three sets and withstood Lady Jaguar rallies midway through each game before settling for comfortable wins.
Marcus saw a 15-9 advantage in Game 2 sliced down to as little as one at 18-17, however the Lady Marauders closed the set on a 7-3 run, including consecutive block-kills for a 20-17 lead.
In Game 3, Flower Mound took three of the first four points before the Lady Marauders responded to gain a 13-10 advantage. Three consecutive kills from Jordan Anderson gave the Lady Jaguars life at 13-13 and the teams went back-and-forth before eventually getting knotted up at 19-19.
But just as they did in the first two sets, Marcus pulled away down the stretch.
"We kind of let them creep back a little bit in each game because of our errors and them hitting some very good balls," Liles said. "But we managed to keep our head and focus. And we didn't have too many mistakes in a row, which is where we've been struggling."
Liles also credited improvements on defense and blocking for Marcus' success.
"Blocking and defense is going to be the name of the game for us and we did well tonight," she said. "And we did a good job of serving aggressively and serve receive as well. Anytime we can do those things and limit our errors, we're going to have a good chance to win."
Now Marcus shifts its focus to West. Last season, the Lady Marauders swept the Lady Wolves in district.
"It was a big one because Flower Mound is our rival and needed it," said Marcus' Kelsey Pry. "And we wanted to get a win for coach Liles on her birthday.
Pry added she was impressed by the play of teammate Lauren Douglass, who was battling an illness.
"She was sick this game and she really stepped for us," Pry said. "You couldn't even tell out there and she played great. This was a big deal because we really needed to get our confidence back, especially with some of the newer girls, and I think this really helped and we're really pumped to play Plano West on Friday."