81° F Saturday, June 24, 2017

By Steve Habel

DRIPPING SPRINGS – A lot would have to go right for the Lake Travis volleyball team to beat rival Dripping Springs Tuesday night. But very little did.

The result, a 25-21, 25-15, 25-17 sweep by the Lady Cavs’ oldest rivals at the Dripping Springs High School gym, left the team wanting and worried. The team is still looking for an identity and a bit of consistency halfway through the high school volleyball season.

“We have been up and down – there is no doubt about that,” Lake Travis coach Jennifer Kazmierski said after the loss. “We knew this was going to be a difficult transition because the team is mostly inexperienced, and we were moving up in class [from Class 4A to 5A], but I thought we would be a little further down the road by now.”

Melodi Ramirez led the Lady Cavs with eight kills, and Claire McCown added seven. Corey Cable had 15 assists, and Kaitland Currier dished out 11 while Haley Mahlum led the Lady Cavs defense with eight digs.

Lake Travis, which finished the nondistrict portion of its season at 10-16, never looked to have an answer for Dripping Springs, which has – for the past several years – been a team on the rise.

“Honestly, the way we played at the start of this match was embarrassing,” Dripping Springs coach Michael Kane said. “That’s probably to be expected because of how much this rivalry means to both teams, but we found a way to find a groove and get back on track.”

Dripping Springs was led in kills by Shelby Green with 18, in assists by Madison Green with 13 and aces by Autumn Rounsaville with four.

The loss to the Tigers hurt a little less because the two teams are no longer in the same district but surely stung, especially to the seniors on the team that had never lost to Dripping Springs.

“We have got to find a way to work harder, to get a little more consistency and just take ever ball in every point like it means the world to us,” Lake Travis senior setter Currier said. “We know we can play better – we are happy that we can try to put the nondistrict games behind us and concentrate on the games in front of us. It’s like a new season will begin Friday.”

The Lady Cavs begin District 15-5A play Friday when they host Del Valle at 6:30 p.m.

Neither team found its rhythm in the early points of the match’s first game, which was tied at 18-18 after a kill by Lake Travis’s Marisa Ochoa. But the Tigers rolled to a 25-21 win in the game on the strength of an ace by Rounsaville and three straight short-set kills by Cody Greer.

The second game, won by Dripping Springs 25-15, was the match’s most lopsided. Two kills by the Tigers’ Green were sandwiched around a dual block by Green and Dominique Arnold to help Dripping Springs assume a 9-8 lead.

Two kills and an ace by Cavs’ McCown kept things close for a while, but two more aces by Rounsaville, another by Claire Gravell and a kill by Meghan Bettis pushed the Dripping Springs advantage to 16-10. Green’s ringing kill ended the game in which the Tigers won five of the final seven points.

Lake Travis owned an 11-10 lead in the third game but then swooned, committing multiple service errors and attempts at kills far past the end line as Dripping Springs sat back and let the Lady Cavs beat themselves. A final net violation error by Lake Travis ended the match at 25-17 and handing Dripping Springs its first win over the Lady Cavs since 2008.

“I was not surprised by the way we played in the third game, but I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t fight back a little more,” Kazmierski said. “We are a very emotional bunch, and we are looking forward to starting anew with our district games.”

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