Lady Panthers get revenge against Rusk, fall short against Rains to end non-district play

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Bullard def. Rusk 22-25, 25-17, 25-14, 25-17

The Bullard Lady Panther varsity volleyball team continued its prowl through the 2017 season schedule, as the team returned home to the friendly confines of Bullard High School's Panther Gymnasium for a non-district battle against the team that ended Bullard's playoff hopes last season, the Rusk Lady Eagles, Tuesday, Sept. 12.

As the atmosphere was charged with thoughts of revenge for being eliminated from playoff contention last season, the home team Lady Panthers battled hard against the Lady Eagles to control of the flow of the game early. However, the visitors from Rusk were able to grab the advantage in the beginning of the contest, taking the first set victory over Bullard, 25-22.

Not to be counted out, the Lady Panthers quickly rebounded and recovered from the first set loss, as the team went off on a strong offensive tear against the Lady Eagles in the second set, scratching and clawing at the Rusk defense with their powerful offensive play, as Bullard tied the game up at one set each by claiming the win in the second set, 25-17.

With the match tied, the Lady Panthers continued their strong offensive roll into the third set of play against the Lady Eagles, quickly pouncing their way ahead of their opponent and capitalizing on several Rusk miscues en route to securing the third set victory, 25-14.

In the fourth set, Bullard's relentless attack on both sides of the ball allowed the home team to extract vengeance on their 2016 season-ending opposition, as the Lady Panthers' barrages offensively overwhelmed Rusk, while Bullard's defense allowed the team to withstand the attack of the Lady Eagles.

At the end of the match, it was the Lady Panthers who stood victorious in battle, procuring the matching victory in four sets over Rusk, 22-25, 25-17, 25-14, 25-17.

The all-around performance by sophomore outside hitter Sara McKeethan led the prowl to victory for the Lady Panthers against the Lady Eagles, amassing a total of 17 kills, 10 digs, two aces, and two blocks.

Other significant contributors for the Lady Panthers against the Lady Eagles included senior setter Destinee Dixon, with 22 assists and 11 digs; senior defensive specialist Kailan Bellew, with 12 digs; freshman outside hitter/right side hitter Keili Richmond, with 11 digs, seven aces, and five kills; sophomore setter Kylie McKeethan, with 13 assists; junior middle blocker Ashlyn Meador, with seven kills and four blocks; senior outside hitter Kailey Consford, with five kills and two blocks; and sophomore middle blocker Sarah Lewinski, with four kills and two blocks.

Rains def. Bullard, 25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 25-16

With the win over the Rusk Lady Eagles early last week, the Bullard Lady Panther varsity volleyball team loaded up the bus and traveled to Emory for their final non-district matchup of the season, taking on the tough Rains Lady Wildcats.

In the first set, as both the Lady Panthers and Lady Wildcats scratched and clawed at each other for control of the contest's momentum, the two teams showed off their impressive skills on both sides of the ball. Despite a strong showing by Bullard, Rains was able to race ahead and take the win in the first set, 25-20.

Bullard looked for a way to fight back against their opponent in the second set of play, hoping to tie up the ball game at one set each. However, the strong offensive attack by the Lady Wildcats continued to bite at the Lady Panthers, as Rains claimed the second set, 25-20.

In the third set, the Lady Panthers made up ground, as the teams recovered and rebounded from the losses in the first two sets. Bullard's offensive strikes proved to be overwhelming for Rains, giving the Lady Panthers the third set win, 25-17, allowing Bullard to avoid the three set sweep.

Despite the impressive performance from Bullard in the third set, the Lady Wildcats roared back and pounced on the Lady Panthers in the game's fourth set, as Rains claimed the victory in the matchup in four sets, 25-20, 25-20, 25-17, 25-16.

Again, Sara McKeethan was the leader for the Lady Panthers on the court, contributing a total of 15 digs and 10 kills.

Other significant contributors for the Lady Panthers against the Lady Wildcats included Bellew, with 14 digs; Richmond, with 12 digs and six kills; Dixon, with 18 assists and 12 digs; Kylie McKeethan, with 11 assists and six digs; and Ashlyn Meador, with five kills and four blocks.

With a 1-1 record last week, the Bullard Lady Panther varsity volleyball team currently holds an overall record of 17-10 on the 2017 season.

Next game: Tuesday, Sept. 19 - Spring Hill at Bullard; Friday, Sept. 22 - Bullard at Gladewater.

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