If George Foreman and Muhammad Ali played volleyball, it would have resembled Tuesday’s district match between Henderson and Kilgore.
Only the second district game for Henderson, it took them a set to get going as they took out the Lady Dogs, 26-28, 25-22, 25-21 and 25-22.
Henderson’s Analena Tavo had 19 kills and 10 service points to lead the Lady Lions. Heather Craig led in scoring with 13 points and chipped in nine kills.
“I’ve just been focusing on what coach says. Focusing on the ball, getting there on time and having a nice easy contact,” Tavo said.
Tavo says her power comes from some extra work and a natural talent.
“My weightlifting and a God-given talent,” she said about her hitting. “I give all that glory to him.”
Henderson coach Cal Goss was pleased with both the effort and the results.
“Yeah, Kilgore is a rival and we are going to always come out amped up for them,” Goss said. “We knew a couple things coming in we could take advantage. We had a game plan coming in and we stuck to it. We had a very good game tonight.”
This game set the tone for the match. Kilgore jumped out to a 10-3 early, but mainly off of Henderson miscues. The back and forth action of the rallies were extraordinary in power and finesse. Henderson stayed within four or five points eventually tying the game 22-22 and subsequently taking its first lead of the night at 24-23. They had a couple of opportunities to close out the game, but Kilgore just wouldn’t give up.
At 26-26 and Kilgore serving, Henderson had a kill shot into the net, and an unforced error on the serve receive ended the game 28-26.
It was more of the same for Kilgore. Jump out to a lead and try to hold on. But Henderson tied the set at 8-8, only to fall behind by three or four points.
Henderson tied the game at 20-20 and between Cora Jimerson’s serving and Tavo’s four kills and a blocked shot at the net, the Lady Lions snatched the win out of the jaws of defeat 25-22. Jimerson had four consecutive service points with an ace at that critical point of the match.
With the hurdle cleared of tying the match at one set apiece, Henderson went to work. This time it was Craig at the service line with five service points and an ace to give Henderson an 11-5 lead early. Kilgore surged to within a point or two, but Henderson always managed to fend the Lady Dogs off. Tavo had four kills in the set.
The deciding set left nothing to the imagination.
Both teams were spent and it was going to boil down to which team still had gas in the tank.
Kilgore jumped out early, but it was Henderson’s turn to not give in or give up.
The set was tied at 4-4, 11-11, 18-18, until the Lady Lions finally took control.
Blocks Taylor Helton, Craig and Tavo set the tone for the final points, leading 21-19.
Craig again led the charge with three service points late in the match. Tavo put the cap on the match with a block at the net for the set and match win.
From the Henderson scorebook, Tavo had 19 kills and 18 digs. Followed by Craig with 12 kills and 27 digs. Ann Mills had nine kills and 19 digs, followed by Cora Jimerson’s 36 assists and eight digs.
Kilgore 25-14, 25-17, and freshmen won 26-24, 26-24.