What a difference a week makes.
In last week’s loss against Central, the Live Oak jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before dropping three straight sets.
On Wednesday, Live Oak didn't let the advantage slip away in picking up a sweep of Tara, 25-21, 25-12, 25-12.
Tara never led in the match.
“It felt much better,” Live Oak senior Camryn Gerage said. “I think we still have some mental mistakes to work on. If we worked on that we could have put (Central) out in the third set last week ... we played down a little, but we came back up and finished the game.”
Coach Chastity Sims was pleased to see her squad close out the match quickly, especially considering that the Lady Eagles (15-8, 9-1) are powering through the end of their regular-season schedule. The district match was Live Oak’s third match in four days, a brutal stretch to have to endure late in the season.
For Sims, the biggest thing on Live Oak’s plate is staying hungry and enduring the tough stretch.
“Tonight was better,” Sims said. “It was a slow start. A lot of our girls aren’t feeling good, whatever sickness is going around we all have. It’s been a long week. We’ve had three games so far this week and we have another one at Loranger (Thursday). It’s been a tough week, but we’re just trying to get through it.”
“We had some good plays. They were a scrappy little team,” Sims added. “I definitely felt like we could have been more scrappy like them, it’s just that towards the end of the season, it was uninspired. You’d think they would be more inspired because we’re making a playoff push, but it’s just been a long week. We’ve definitely been on a grind. You can tell we’re on the downhill of our season … but we made it through, we got through this district game with a win.”
Olivia Betz led the Lady Eagles with 12 kills, five aces, and seven digs. Gerage supplemented her with eight kills, two aces, and five digs.
Live Oak took an early lead in the first set and maintained it throughout, keeping Tara down at four or five points for the entire match in a 25-21 victory. It was far from a perfect set for the Lady Eagles, but they played well enough that their lead was never really in question.
Live Oak played considerably sharper in the second set, racing out to a 16-9 lead and holding it until a 25-12 conclusion. The Lady Eagles scored more points from direct play than Tara errors. Betz personified the difference between the first two sets. She finished the first set with one kill and picked up six in the second set.
“We fixed our mistakes after the first set,” Gerage said. “We picked up our energy a little bit.”
Tara was able to keep the third set close out the gate, tying the set three times without sliding in front of Live Oak. Eventually the Lady Eagles widened their lead to 15-7 and cruised from that point, completing the sweep with a 25-12 victory.