Lady Raiders power past GPS Bruisers

Posted 9/10/19

Even with an overall record of 21-6, Cleveland head coach Amy McGowan hasn't been satisfied with the play of the Lady Raiders on the volleyball court recently.

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Lady Raiders power past GPS Bruisers


Even with an overall record of 21-6, Cleveland head coach Amy McGowan hasn't been satisfied with the play of the Lady Raiders on the volleyball court recently.

The Lady Raiders dropped straight sets to Chattanooga Christian School last week then fell again this past weekend in tournament play to AA back-to-back champion Portland.

But, McGowan and the Lady Raiders were all smiles Monday night after straightening out a couple of kinks and posting an impressive 3-1 victory over perennial power Girls Preparatory School (7-5) inside the Cleveland volleyball gym.

Cleveland won the first two sets 25-23 and 25-19, fell in the third, 25-23 then held off the Bruisers in another battle to the finish by a 25-22 margin.

“We have been struggling a little bit with our passing and I think that's why we lost a few matches here the last few days. Our passing was great tonight. That keeps us going,” said McGowan. “They (GPS) are very good. They have very strong hitters.”

Joy Douglass provided power at the net, ending her night with 14 kills. She was followed by Lily Oliver who finished with 11 kills. Katie McGinnis led the Lady Raiders in assists with 17. Brianna Daniel was also big for Cleveland with 10.

“You can always count on Joy. Her volleyball IQ is out the roof. You can count on her making the big plays. She's always at the right place at the right time,” said McGowan.

The Lady Raiders were up to the challenge against the powerful GPS hitters with  Oliver and Jordan Whitcraft either totally stopping Bruiser cannon shots or getting enough on the ball to slow it down for the back liners.

Oliver and Whitcraft combined for 10 blocks with Whitcraft stopping eight shots in the win.

“That's the way they (GPS) come in and that's the way they hit. We tried to focus on their tendencies and I think we found that and had our blockers adjust to that. Lily and Jordan playing the middle and blocking, they did really, really well,” praised McGowan. “They got a hand on the ball and kind of controlled the net." 

The Lady Raiders were also strong on the service line, giving up fewer than five points on service errors. Addy Hurst, Brooke Eslinger, Katie McGinnis and Oliver all sent aces over the net for Cleveland.

“We're a strong serving team. If we're not serving well, and sometimes that goes along with passing, we struggle. Tonight we did both very well,” McGowan stated. “We focus on serving and passing. We think that's important and we want to serve aggressively. If you serve aggressively, sometimes you hit some in the net and sometimes hit some out. But, we choose to serve aggressively and not play it safe.”

Cleveland is also not afraid to be aggressive with its schedule with teams like GPS, CCS and Baylor on the slate.

“CCS is a very good team and we knew GPS is and we know Baylor is always strong. It's going to be some really good games for us. They are just really good,” said McGowan.

The Lady Raiders return to the court and District 5-AAA volleyball tonight against Walker Valley inside the Arena at 6:30 p.m.

“We're excited about tomorrow. It's a district match and we're excited," McGowan said after Monday night's victory.


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