Now you see them.
Now you don’t.
For the first two games of Walker Valley’s tri-match Thursday in “The Stable” the Lady Mustangs showed up big time and walloped the East Ridge Lady Pioneers, 25-7, 25-16.
In the nightcap against Girls Preparatory School, Walker Valley reappeared to beat the Bruisers 25-18. But, to the dismay of head coach Judy Pruett. the Lady Mustangs disappeared like a magician’s puff of smoke and fell to GPS by scores of 25-21 and 25-18.
“We’re one team and then we’re another,” Pruett said of the sluggish effort. “We get really excited and get some intensity and then we just make too many errors. Our biggest thing right now is when we make errors they seem to just go one right after the other.”
The Lady Mustangs kept errors to a minimum in the first game, with GPS taking control after breaking a 9-9 tie. Taylor Pruett served for three points to give Walker Valley a 12-9 lead and the Valley girls never looked back. Two Bristol Snider aces and an Eryn Walker ace put the Lady Mustangs up 16-10. Snider put two more shots on the hardwood to make it 18-11 minutes later.
Baylee Boen and Rachel Lawhorn had kills to keep Walker Valley comfortable out front. Pruett stepped back behind the line to serve up two more aces to put Walker Valley up 24-16 and Snider added the finishing touch with a kill for the win.
Walker Valley committed five consecutive hitting errors to give up the lead in the second game and quickly fell behind 9-3. The Lady Mustangs made a run midway through the set and score six straight to go up 18-14. GPS rallied back to tie the match at 20-20 and went on to take the game.
“We made about five or six errors and let them back in the game. We just make way too many errors. Our passers dig balls up, now they are going to have one or two or three shanks per person, but they dig and they pass extremely well,” Pruett observed. “We’ve got good setters. Sometimes they make good choices, sometimes they don’t. But our hitters have got to put the ball down. That’s the only way we are going to win big matches. We’ll win big matches if they are keeping the ball in the court. If they’re not, we can’t win no matter how well our defense plays.”
Walker Valley game out in the finale and jumped to a 6-0 lead behind four consecutive Walker aces. Boen made it 8-3 with another kill. But, the Bruisers battled back to tie the game at 10-10 and then raced to a 15-10 lead. The Lady Mustangs closed it to 21-17 but could make up no more ground and fell 25-18.
“We can play with anybody. We know that,” said Pruett of the Lady Mustangs’ ability. “We should have beaten GPS. We did the first game easily because we were playing our game and playing up. We just made way too many errors.”
For the Lady Mustangs, Bristol Snider finished the night with two aces, 12 assists, 17 kills, 22 digs and one reception. Taylor Pruett had three aces, two assists, 10 digs, 21 receptions and Baylee Boen notched one block, nine kills, nine digs and three receptions. Eryn Walker served seven aces, and picked up five digs and 15 receptions, while Abby Campbell had 18 assists, one kill and six digs. Alex Rominger booked two digs and four receptions. Autumn Sizemore had one ace, one block, seven kills and four digs while Christian Whittemore scored an ace, seven digs and six receptions. Rachel Lawhorn finished with four kills and one block, Ashlyn Flock had two kills and one reception, Madison Pruett grabbed four kills and Nikki Prugh ended with one assist, one dig, one block and one kill.
The Lady Mustangs take on Anderson County today at Ooltewah in the Tennessee Tandem and will follow with Hutchinson. Walker Valley will wind up its tournament schedule Saturday in the Tandem.