Aug. 23, 2014
BEAUMONT - Chelsea Grant and Cortney Moore appeared to pick up where they left off from last season, but it was the contributions of a little-used reserve from a year ago that opened some eyes on Saturday as the Grant-led White team held on for a 2-0 (25-19, 26-24) victory over Moore's Red squad at McDonald Gym.
Grant, a redshirt-sophomore out of Killeen, finished second in the Southland in blocks last year, and she finished Saturday with seven kills and 10 stoppers on the day, but it was sophomore Autumn Taylor that provided most of the offensive firepower, slamming home 10 kills.
"I think we've come a long way since the spring, and I think we've all meshed well," Grant said. "I think I did well today, and we've all come together and really meshed. Autumn's been strong, and we're going to depend on her on the outside. She's going to be able to do a lot for us."
Moore proved to be the brightest attacker on the day, albeit in a losing effort, as she was responsible for a match-best 13 kills and three blocks. She had a bit of help from Bowling Green State transfer Carlyn Stella and Sara Landis, who each chipped in four kills.
"We were pretty good offensively, and I was pretty happy with how we performed there," head coach Alan Edwards said. "I don't feel like we had a lot of errors, and certainly not many unforced errors, which had been an issue. Autumn looked great, and both of our middles did well. We're going to be relying on those kids all year."
After Red grabbed an early lead in the opening set, Taylor bookended a Grant kill with two of her own to give White a slim 11-10 lead. An Ashley Ellis
ace and a pair of attack errors put White ahead for good, and two more blocks and a kill from Grant keyed a run later in the set to remove all doubt.
The second stanza proved to be more dramatic as it featured 10 ties, including six after Moore evened it up with a solo block at 16-16. After Red took its first lead of the frame since the early goings on a Moore and Jenna Jackson block at 19-18, Taylor picked up a pair of consecutive kills to return the advantage to White. An Ellis service error brought things even once more, but Taylor once again proved the better with a kill on the ensuing point to make it 21-20.
Kills from Stella and Moore gave Red a lead again, but it would be the last as Grant and Nicole Parish combined for a block. Landis and Moore notched kills to tie it up twice more, but Parish and Taylor closed out the match with back-to-back kills.
The Lady Cards will return to action next week with a tournament at the University of Houston, beginning Friday at 10 a.m. against former Southland foe Texas State.