The early 2000’s were great years. Gas cost $2.03 per gallon, eggs were $1.34 per dozen, you could send a letter for 37 cents, there was no Snapchat or Spotify, the New England Patriots won the Superbowl (ok that’s not a huge change) and Boston Red Sox won the World Series. This was also possibly the last time the TCS Lady Cougars beat the Howard School Hawks. After a long dry spell of getting a win versus Howard, the Lady Cougars played their game and it was perfectly awesome to see! They proudly took home the win versus the Hawks. Here is the real story in 2018!
After a strong two days of practice, the Cougars took the home court advantage against the Hawks. They started off a bit sluggish and Hawks took the lead. One of the Hawks strongest servers #34 – who we were anticipating – moved the Hawks into the lead with a 11 point serving streak. The Cougars fought to win back the serve. Co-captain Julia confidently approached the line and got the game back on track with a ‘back atcha’ 11 point run of serves. Cougs are back and fighting point to point. The Cougar team made valiant efforts after point 14 but the Howard servers pushed past them to the point of return and they struggled to catch up. Hawks took it, 16 – 25.
Set 2, Cougars take the lead 5-4, Julia again started the engine with 4 great serves. The ladies stayed connected with each play following the ball and volleying to keep the serve. They were fierce in covering the center court area as that was a popular dropping spot from the Hawks. They fiercely covered the continued shots to the Cougar center court, earning back the serve. Co-captain Bethany wisely served 7 balls into the deep Hawk court, including 2 aces, taking the Cougars back into the lead 12-9. Bethany and Grace showed Cougar strength and presence on the net after 3 serves from Esther bringing the score to 20-13. Brandy Michelle placed well executed passes into open Hawk court space protecting the Cougar serving advantage. Grace stepped on the gas and added 7 more serves including the set point, Cougars won this one 25-13.
Set 3, the hungry Cougars jumped on the court, fired up and ready go again. They are focused and energized. They regain the serve, Julia again served brilliantly with 5 serves, bringing the Cougars to 7-3. Hawks added some steam and it became a point for point game at 9-9. Hawks sneak ahead, the Cougars are working hard to cover the court, run their offense AND get the serve back in their possession. They are down 12-17. Serving power from Brandy helped them move forward. Esther, Grace and Emily worked to keep the serve and made wise plays into unoccupied court space, dropping balls with back spin and speed. The Cougars are creeping up 15-18. The support from the bench pushed the ladies on the court to higher ground. Their wild enthusiasm builds more spirit on the court. This is seen from the volleying display as they continue to cover time and time again the drops into center court. And this helps the Cougars earn back the serve, After her continued passing presence along the front net, Grace steps to the line. She puts away another 8 serves that have the Hawks flying in the back court trying to get them but they just can’t. The amazing Cougars back up Grace with strong coverage never giving up on the game . This well-deserved one goes to the Lady Cougars, 25-22.
By now the soccer, track and middle school volleyball teams are back (Go Cougars!) and the stands are full of happy, proud and boisterous fans. Emily served well giving us the early Cougar lead. Communication is loud and proud and the ladies are playing their game well. Brandy played strong on the net and made decisive plays with some smart ball handling. The ladies served well and the volleys continued to bounce back and forth. The Cougars lose the lead, and are now trading points with the Hawks, making it a point to point game. Erin came off the bench to help ease some back court passing stress and calmly passed the ball, helping to regain the serve. Esther fired away 5 serves pushing them back into the lead. Once again, everyone is on the edge of their seats as this became an intense back and forth game of cat and bird (mouse sounds better but that’s the wrong team!). The Hawks put on the heat again with their deep court serving strength and took this one from the Cougars, 21-25.These 5 set matches are very stressful….so thankfully there are only 15 points this go round. Team communication is at an all-time high. Wise passing and over the net balls are the theme for this set. Grace started off with 2 serves. The Lady Cougars then face up against one of the skilled Hawk servers who topped them off with 11 serves during set 1. This time it doesn’t work, they took control and earned back the serve. This is their game and it is clear even at this early stage of the set. Energy is high, it was an amazing thing to watch and see. Grace stood up to the Hawks heat as she repeatedly recovered pass for pass from their front line, it was like watching a tennis match. This helped the Cougars earn the serve. Emily took the ball and walked to the line. Spoiler alert, she is last Cougar server for this set. She put away 13 serves but she wasn’t alone. This amazing Lady Cougar team was a TEAM from beginning to end. In addition to well thought out ball return over the net, the ladies ran a play after an intense series of volleys….it was a perfect pass from Esther, a set from Brandy that set up Anna to hit. Her hit earned the point, holding on to the serve. This kept Emily in pole position as the server. The Cougars kept the heat on and won the set and match, 15-1.
This victory was a team win all the way. These ladies have worked so hard and we are SO proud of them. Congratulate them when you see them, this is huge accomplishment! This is the incentive they need as a team to keep them moving forward as we approach the end of the season and the playoffs. Go Cougars, we are so proud of you!