CORINTH — Late in the third set of Sanger’s nondistrict match against Lake Dallas, the Lady Indians saw their lead dwindle until the contest was tied and a straight-set victory was in jeopardy.
The Lady Falcons’ lengthy run wasn’t enough to push the game to a fourth set.
Sanger was able to hold on for a 25-20, 25-21, 25-21 victory at Lake Dallas on Tuesday night.
After finishing seventh in the Van tournament, Sanger coach Tammy Niemczyk said she wanted to see her team close out teams when the chance presented itself.
And while Niemczyk was a little nervous at the end, her fears were relieved when the final point of the match trickled off the net and onto Lake Dallas’ side of the court.
“They handled it well,” Niemczyk said of her team’s ability to deal with Lake Dallas’ late run. “I don’t think they ever quit by any means. And even when [Lake Dallas] had a four-point lead in the beginning, they still kept their composure and played well.”
Sanger sophomore Jaylen Pegues led the team with nine kills. Morgan Turkoly tallied a team-high 10 assists for the Lady Indians (5-3).
Niemczyk was pleased with the way Pegues asserted herself in Tuesday night’s match. Pegues started stepping up as a leader in the Van tournament last weekend.
The Sanger coach said she’d like to see Pegues continue in her leadership role.
“She’s perfectly capable of leading the team in kills, so it’s nice to see her step up,” Niemczyk said.
On the other side of the net, Lake Dallas (3-4) had another opportunity to break in a young squad.
Throughout the match, Lake Dallas coach Heather Van Noy and her assistant coaches occasionally offered advice to a team that has three freshmen who see significant playing time in the squad’s rotation.
Freshman Kambrie Gossett led Lake Dallas with eight kills, and junior Caroline Chapman added 12 digs and nine assists.
The Lady Falcons were undone by a slew of errors throughout the contest. Van Noy said she urged her team to focus on placing the ball and keeping it in play instead of crushing the ball out of bounds.
“We have to be that team that plays smarter, because most teams are probably going to be bigger than us because we are so young,” Van Noy said.
Errors helped Sanger come back from an early deficit in the third set, as the Lady Indians scored six straight points to build a lead that was lost but regained at the end of the set.
Van Noy said avoiding a string of errors is something her young squad is working on.
“You have to make sure you’re not the one scoring against yourself on multiple points in a row, and that’s where we struggle right now — that we don’t make one error,” Van Noy said. “We make five errors in a row.”
As Sanger looks to carry the momentum from Tuesday’s win into this weekend’s tournament at Prosper, Lake Dallas looks to gain some valuable experience in a tournament at Lewisville.
“It’s really hard to beat another team when you’re beating yourself,” Van Noy said. “We scored a lot of points for them, so that’s frustrating. But that comes with just playing and getting those touches in practice.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.