EARLY — Coming off a 2-2 performance at the Stephenville JV tournament, the Early Lady Horns were unable to build on that momentum as they suffered a 25-12, 25-19, 25-7 home loss to 20th-ranked Sonora Tuesday night.
“In the second set we felt really good and had a lot of energy, then the third set we just lost it,” said first-year head coach Mitzi Bell. “We were not focused at all in the third set. We’ve played in a lot of tournaments that were two out of three, we haven’t played many games that were three out of five. We’ve got to get ready to play the whole time.”
Jayslin King led the Lady Horns with eight kills followed by Kacee Gober with seven, Tuesdi Tidwell with three, Cylee Tyson and Ellie Ryan with two apiece and Gabby Constancia, Lainey Speck and Morgan Luckie with one each.
Tyson’s nine assists led the Lady Horns trailed by four from King, two from Speck and one apiece from Tidwell, Gober and Ryan.
Tyson also served a team-high five aces with Constancia chipping in four followed by two from King and one each from Tidwell and Luckie.
Defensively, Constancia notched 21 digs trailed by nine from Hallie Brinson, eight from Tidwell, six from Holly Callaway, five from Tyson, four from King, three each from Speck and Luckie, two from Ryan and one apiece from Hope Boswell and Brilee Tabor.
Gober collected six blocks while King, Tidwell and Ryan added three each.
Trailing 8-6 in the opening set, the Lady Horns allowed 10 consecutive points as Sonora built an 18-6 advantage.
The Lady Horns were much more competitive in the second set and led as late as 8-7. Down 6-4, three aces in four serves by Constancia helped Early surge in front.
Trailing by a 13-10 count, Early scored the next three points to even the score, with a block by Gober forcing the tie. Sonora responded with seven of the next nine points to pull away, 20-15, as the Lady Horns got no closer than three points the rest of the way.
In the finale, Early led 4-3 in the opening moments of the set following a side out by Sonora. But the Lady Horns yielded 19 of the next 21 as Sonora established a 22-6 cushion en route to the victory.
“Our energy stayed up and that’s something we’ve talked about the most because they get down at times,” Bell said. “I feel like when we needed to battle we did, but in that third set when you’re down as much as we were, it’s hard to battle.
“We didn’t have as many missed serves and serve receiving is getting better, it’s just a lot of mental errors.”
The Lady Horns (8-11) host Tolar at 4 p.m. Friday.