Lady Tiger volleyball stumbles in first match

SWEET WATER – The Demopolis High volleyball team (0-1) fell short in its season opener Thursday evening, losing to Sweet Water 25-19 and 25-20 in a best-of-three match.

“We really struggled on serves tonight,” Demopolis head coach Blythe Smith said. “It is hard to get any positive momentum going when you can’t put your serves in play.”

The Lady Tigers failed to get their first serve in play in either game Thursday en route to committing 15 service errors in the contest.

“We had mistakes in other places, obviously,” Smith said. “But you can’t hand the other team 15 points and expect to get a win.”

Demopolis’ last lead of the night came with the team up 5-4 in the first game before a service error by the Lady Tigers sparked a 9-3 Sweet Water run the shifted the flow of the match.

Demopolis would close the game to within three, cutting the deficit to 15-12 before Sweet Water’s 5-0 run opened it back up again. Demopolis rallied back with the help of a Baleigh Grace ace, an Ebony Moore kill and a pair of kills and a block from Caleb Washington. The 6-2 rally put DHS within striking distance at 22-18 before unforced errors saw Sweet Water put the game away.

“She still has plenty of growing to do on the court, but Caleb Washington played hard tonight. She has the size to be really good at the net and I think she is just starting to figure that out,” Smith said of the 6-0 middle hitter that made her presence felt defensively.

The second game saw Demopolis trail all the way through. The Lady Tigers did manage to cut a seven-point deficit to five on multiple occasions before getting to within four at 24-20. Ultimately, however, a service error by Demopolis ended the contest.

“We still have a long way to go, but we played pretty well on the floor,” Smith said. “Riley King helped us out a lot with her hustle and passing ability. Cailin Bamberg is settling into her role as setter and Jade Montgomery played well at libero. We had a lot of young girls get some playing time and show some flashes. We have a lot to build on.”

The Lady Tigers will play again Tuesday when they travel to Thomasville.