Photo: Kirk Sides / Houston Chronicle
Although Clear Lake’s record doesn’t indicate it, the Lady Falcons are finding their way around the volleyball court much better than two weeks ago.
While its 25-20, 25-13, 25-19 to powerful Dawson Tuesday night may not bring a smile to head coach Chanda Eager’s players, scheduling state-ranked opponents is a sure-fire way to improve.
“I think the girls worked really hard to get balls, and they picked up on what Dawson liked to do,” Eager said. “There were a couple of errors here and there that we made at the wrong time, but as a team, we’re growing.
“I’m most proud of their desire to battle back, regardless of the score.”
Dawson (16-5) started quickly, bolting to an 18-6 lead in the first game behind the thunderous kills of senior outside hitter Kynnedi Johnson and junior left-hander Madison Deslatte.
The Lady Eagles’ lead reached 20-9 before Clear Lake (6-12) found a spark while Dawson struggled passing the ball.
Lady Falcon junior Libby Saunders produced a block winner and two kills while Clare Mills and Emma Norman hit winners to help Lake battle back to within 24-18. A Dawson error and a net violation by the Lady Eagles pulled Lake within 24-20 before Johnson hammered a winner to close out the first set.
In game two, Lake held a 7-6 advantage when Dawson took control, winning 12 of the next 14 points to open an 18-9 cushion. Two kills each from Madison Deslatte and Thalia Cordero along with Aliyah McDonald’s block winner and kill fueled that surge.
Strong serving from Dawson libero Dahlia Miller along with kills from Lauren Scott and Kaitlyn Scroggins helped secure that second set.
Lake hung tough in the third set until the final stages as Dawson held only a 19-17 lead after a kill by the Lady Falcons’ Mills.
A Dawson error kept it a two-point game at 20-18, but the Lady Eagles then ran off four straight points to take a firm hold of the set. Two Lake errors along with kills from Cordero and McDonald helped the Eagles reach match point.
Madison Deslatte then delivered a winner to secure the victory.
“We’re still experimenting…we’re a very young team,” Dawson head coach Lauren Leth said. “We have some inconsistency because we’re putting a lot of lineups out there.
“We’re still trying to put that puzzle together. We’ve got a lot of girls with a lot of talent, and we’re searching for that right mix.
“I see the improvement, and we’re playing with confidence.”
Johnson led Dawson with 14 kills while Mills paced Lake with 12. Nicole Deslatte had three blocks and four kills for the Lady Eagles while Sanders had seven kills for the Lady Falcons, who have bounced back after an 0-7 start to the season.
“Libby’s our emotional leader,” Eager said. “She’s very passionate and she’s do everything she can to get us a win. It’s always great to have somebody like that on the court.”
Both teams will compete in the Clear Creek Independent School District Volleyball Tournament Thursday and Saturday.