For two straight seasons, Amy Rosenbaum was considered the best setter in District 12-5A.
In 2011, the Copperas Cove senior was simply picked as the best.
After leading the Lady Bulldawgs to the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, Rosenbaum was selected as 12-5A's most valuable player.
"She's earned it, she's worked hard and she's gotten better every year," Cove head coach Cari Lowery said. "She's all of those things that every coach wants a player to be, so she deserved it."
Rosenbaum, who will sign with Baylor this afternoon, finished the season with 1,308 assists (9.4 per game), 295 digs, 123 kills, 149 blocks and 116 aces.
Cove finished second in 12-5A, sweeping Tyler Lee in the bi-district round of the playoffs before falling to Richardson Lake Highlands in the area round Friday.
The Lady Dawgs also picked up a second superlative in Qiana Canete being named Newcomer of the Year. The sophomore, despite standing 5-foot-8, became a valuable weapon at the net.
"I wanted her to get that badly." Said Lowery of Canete, who finished the year with 328 kills and 185 blocks and 56 aces. "She is going to be — by the time she graduates from Copperas Cove — one of the players that people are going to remember, like Amy is."
Six other area standouts were named to the all-district first team.
Cove picked up two more selections in senior middle blocker Andrea Hurt, who finished with 226 blocks on the year, and fellow senior Claire (Taylor) Creamer, who led the back-row defense with a school-record 746 digs.
Ellison's Chelsea Grant was named to the first team for the second straight year, joined by Lady Eagle outside hitter Megan McKinnon.
Outside hitter Anjane Janda made the first team for Harker Heights, while fellow junior Hailee Showers was picked from Shoemaker.
A&M Consolidated, the 12-5A champion with a perfect 14-0 record, earned three of the district's superlatives.
Junior setter Jordyn Slocum was named most valuable setter, fellow junior Jessica Wagner was named most valuable hitter and Cydryce McMillian was selected as coach of the year.
Bryan junior libero Brittany Little was named defensive most valuable player for the second consecutive season.
Volleyball: My Site News
All-District Volleyball: Cove’s Rosenbaum named 12-5A MVP
For two straight seasons, Amy Rosenbaum was considered the best setter in District 12-5A.
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Wednesday, November 2
Volleyball Playoffs: Lady Dawgs don new unis, ensure they get more use
Rosenbaum, the Baylor-bound setter, had a fever nearing triple-digits and Taylor, the scrappy libero, only had one good eye, with the other sporting a pretty nasty infection.
But none of that was going to keep either from unveiling their new "victory" uniform tops, as the dressed-for-success Lady Bulldawgs responded with a commanding 25-8, 25-19, 25-21 victory over Tyler Lee in their Region II-5A bi-district playoff game Monday.
"I have a philosophy where if you look good, you play good," said Rosenbaum, who contributed 37 assists, six kills and two blocks despite entering the game with a 99-degree fever. Taylor led the defensive effort with 21 digs.
"So if you need to get your nails done to play good ... and its always good to bring out something people haven't seen
before. OK, we're bringing out uniforms they haven't seen, we're going to bring a team they haven't seen."
The new look clearly paid off — especially early — as Cove opened Game 1 with a 7-0 lead behind the steady serving of sophomore Qiana Canete.
"The new uniforms, I love them, we all do," Canete said. "We were very excited to play in them and I think it did give us a boost, actually."
The new digs have become a yearly present this time for the Lady Bulldawgs (33-9), courtesy of their coach, Cari Lowery.
"Girls like stuff, kids like stuff (and) there has to be some reward for earning a trip to the playoffs, so that's it," Lowery said of the new uniforms. "(Something) to get them excited about what they have on."
After trading a few points, Cove continued to pile it on in the first game, as a set-kill from Rosenbaum-to-Canete made it 11-4 and started a scoring run as the Lady Bulldawgs struck gold on 13 of the next 14 points for a 23-5 lead following a push-tip by Rosenbaum.
Prior to her quick tip, Rosenbaum had set four straight kills as junior Carlie Tuiasosopo bookended a pair of shots by Canete, who led Cove with 12 kills on the night. Five-foot-7 senior Andrea Hurt added a team-high eight blocks.
"I think that was very important. We always have to play up, we have to start the game off with a lot of fire really," Canete said of the quick start. "It's always good to start off really fast, I think."
But Lowery wasn't of the same philosophy.
"It's kinda scary when you just blow somebody out in the first game, because that's the inevitable rebound effect that comes back," she said.
Fueled by the hard hitting of junior Mallory Kuechle, who had a game-high 18 kills, Tyler Lee (25-16) mounted several comeback attempts in Game 2, including pulling within 11-8 on an ace from senior Kalloway Hudson.
But even with a rising temperature, the hot-handed Rosenbaum put together a service run of five straight points to double up the Lady Raiders 16-8, a lead Cove was able to maintain throughout in the 25-19 win.
Riding the confidence they got by staying with the Lady Bulldawgs in Game 2, Tyler Lee only improved in Game 3, taking a 6-4 lead — its first of the evening — following a stuff block by Kuechle.
Cove rallied quickly, scoring the next four points to retake the lead, but the Lady Raiders weren't done, taking back the advantage 18-17 following a kill and an ace by Kuechle.
But after a timeout by Lowery, the Lady Bulldawgs responded with four straight points, capped by a Rosenbaum kill to lead 21-18.
A couple of Cove errors allowed Lee to pull within one, 21-0, but a pair of set-kills from Rosenbaum-to-Canete bookended a 4-1 closing run to seal the sweep and a trip to the area round, with the winner between Richardson Lake Highlands and Garland Naaman Forest waiting this weekend.
"We all had to come to the game, drop everything on the sidelines and just play volleyball, and I think that's all that mattered," Rosenbaum said. "You can have a 106 fever but if you're there for your team and you play through it ... it's a state championship team, you know?"
Friday, October 28
Copperas Cove Volleyball will be in action at 6:30 p.m. Monday against Tyler Lee at Fairfield for the first round of the playoffs.
Friday, October 28
Pop Quiz: Jessica Vick, Copperas Cove
The volleyball team clinched its playoff berth weeks ago, so what’s going to make for a successful season?
“We’ve done really good so far and I think that we keep getting better. We’re already on the way to being successful.”
Did you have any personal goals for yourself this year?
“I’m a perfectionist — I don’t ever want to have errors, so I always want to be 100 percent on digging and passing. So far it’s been pretty good. I know I’m obviously not going to get 100 percent every time.”
So how do you balance being a perfectionist with knowing it’s not going to be 100 percent every time out?
“I guess I just get over it — I don’t really hang on to stuff too much. I’ll think about it in my head, like I’ll think, ‘I could have done this,’ but I have to get over it.”
Are you a perfectionist with everything or just volleyball?
“With everything, except for my room — cleaning my room.”
You normally come off the bench to serve before playing the back row. How do you work yourself up mentally to come in cold?
“Sometimes that’s kind of hard for me because I think you play better whenever your adrenaline is pumping, so whenever I have to come off the bench, I try to mentally get myself in it.”
Is volleyball your favorite sport or is it soccer?
“I’d probably say volleyball because I play club for this and I spent probably more time on this than I do with soccer.”
So how much running do you actually do in a soccer match?
“I would probably say more than a couple miles, depending on if you stay in the whole game or if you get to come out. I usually stay in for most of the game because there’s not a lot of girls that play that position.”
What’s your favorite subject?
“History — I’m good in the class. But I took a law class too because I’m interested in law.”
Is that something you think you’re going to pursue after high school?
“I’m thinking about it. I’m still not sure of course, but I’m taking classes now to see if I like it.”
What is it about law?
“I like the forensics — the chemistry part.”
Wednesday, October 26
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE — Cari Lowery reminded her team countless times.
Focus on Temple. Focus on Tuesday night.
Copperas Cove's head volleyball coach knew her team's regular-season finale could have been a recipe for disaster. The Lady Bulldawgs had already secured a trip to the playoffs, were coming off a high-emotion, back-and-forth thriller against A&M Consolidated on Friday, and welcomed a Temple squad in must-win mode.
The Lady Dawgs listened to their coach. And it worked — the Tem-Cats pushed Cove in Game 3 but the Lady Dawgs held on at home to finish off their sweep (25-18, 25-12, 26-24).
"We just played slow, a little bit sloppy and made silly, little mistakes," Lowery said. "I don't think we looked past Temple ... we need to be pushed because there aren't any easy games in the playoffs."
A&M Consolidated wrapped up the 12-5A championship with Friday's win at Cove. The Lady Dawgs (32-9, 12-2) are the district runner-up and will face Tyler Lee to open the playoffs next week.
The bi-district matchup likely won't be finalized until today, but Cove and Tyler Lee, 11-5A's third seed, could possibly meet at Fairfield High School either Monday or Tuesday.
"Every challenge that we face now just betters us for playoffs," said Cove setter Amy Rosenbaum, who finished with 49 assists. "Whether it's losing to A&M or barely beating Temple, if it all teaches us a lesson about volleyball, winning and getting the job done, then that's good."
Temple (17-22) falls to 7-7 in district play and is tied for fourth place with Ellison, which lost to A&M Consolidated on Tuesday. The two will have a one-game playoff later this week.
Cove, despite a few runs from Temple, quickly won the opening two games. That included a 6-1 start to Game 2, with the Lady Dawgs only building on the lead — Cove forced a Temple timeout with a 14-6 lead and followed with three straight points after the break.
The Tem-Cats struggled offensively, getting most of their points off Cove attack errors. Temple has couldn't find an answer for Cove's Qiana Canete.
The sophomore finished with team-high totals in kills (17), blocks (5) and aces (3). Two of those aces were part of Cove's opening run in Game 2.
The kills came throughout the match, including a number down the left side of Temple's defense.
"I was on fire," Canete said.
Added Rosenbaum: "Qiana butters my biscuit. If I set her and she gets a kill, then we both win. I can just get the ball to her and I know she's going to put it down."
In Game 3, the Tem-Cats stayed with Cove, even taking a late lead on an Abby Goodman dump over the net off a bad pass from the Temple back row. The point put Temple up 24-23 and forced a Cove timeout.
Rosenbaum went back to Canete after the break, and she tied the game with another kill. Canete then followed with a tip that fell in after nearly stepping on the line in trying to cut a ball across Temple's defense.
The tip gave Cove match point, with Canete and Rosenbaum blocking Temple's Taylor Valentin to end it.
"That last little hit that she made when she tried to cut it, I said 'Why are you trying to cut it? Nobody's touching anything. Just keeping swinging,'" Lowery said. "But my goodness, can she hit the ball."
Thursday, September 29
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE — Andrea Hurt used to be one of the taller volleyball players around Copperas Cove.
So was Qiana Canete.
But those days in junior high school are long gone.
"Besides Amy (Rosenbaum), I was the first one in middle school to be 5-foot. That was a big deal," Hurt said of her and Rosenbaum, a fellow senior and Cove's 6-0 setter. "By the time I was midway through seventh grade, I was 5-5. Of course back then, if you were 5-5, you were a giant."
Hurt remains a middle blocker, even when she stopped growing at 5-5. The same goes for the 5-8 Canete.
"In junior high, I was one of the taller kids," the sophomore said. "I just thought I was the biggest thing out there. Then, when I got to high school, I'm just a little, tiny middle blocker."
The two haven't let their lack of height deter their success at the net. Instead of beating opponents with imposing size, Hurt and Canete use quickness, technique, timing and attitude to block would-be kills.
They've helped the Lady Bulldawgs continue a successful run that featured plenty of height just two years ago. From a 2009 roster loaded with 6-footers, Rosenbaum is the only one left.
Cove is 25-8 this season and 5-1 in District 12-5A. Cove lost a first-place showdown with A&M Consolidated on Tuesday, and head to Temple on Friday.
Against the Lady Tigers, Hurt (12) and Canete (eight) combined for 20 blocks.
"I don't think I've seen any two better athletes play that position," said Gatesville head coach Rickey Phillips, who's state-ranked Hornets faced Cove twice this season. "They take away so much at that net because they can get up off the floor, and not only can they jump, they do a great job of pressing their hands over the net.
"They're not just good jumpers — they're very good blockers."
Part of that jumping ability comes from work in the offseason.
Cove's spring workouts include jumping, whether it's over hurdles of varying heights or on top of 36-inch boxes. The timed exercises help with endurance, in addition to moving laterally at the net.
And of course, it helps when it's time to sky over the net. One of Hurt's two off-season records is a 33-inch vertical jump she tallied as a freshman.
"Once you start doing boxes and then you actually practice, you feel like you're super high in the air," Canete said. "My head could touch the ceiling right now."
It also benefits in other sports. Hurt was a regional qualifier in track in both the long jump and 800-meter relay.
Despite her early success — Canete was moved up to the varsity last season — teammates and coaches say Canete has the ability to get even better.
"Q(iana) can run it wherever she wants — she doesn't care if you're 7-2 or 5-nothing," Hurt said. "She can hit all across the net. Her timing is very good, especially for how young she is. She's an excellent player."
Hurt's jumping ability was always there — it was finding a way to control her emotions and believe in her own abilities. Once the switch turned — in part by head coach Cari Lowery — Hurt became a known enforcer at the net, even if she is six or seven inches shorter than opposing middles.
"It feels really good because a part of me goes, 'Oh, you're tall and they're scouting you,'" Hurt said. "'Well look, I'm 5-5 and I just jumped over you and I'm better than you are.' It makes me feel more empowered."
Contact Angel Verdejo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569.
Saturday, September 17
Cove sweeps Heights, keeps its strangle hold on 12-5A volleyball
HARKER HEIGHTS — Copperas Cove entered the year as a favorite to contend for the District 12-5A title.
The Harker Heights Lady Knights are hoping this is the year they get back into the postseason.
On Friday, it was Cove who got the upper hand. The Lady Dawgs took care of Heights, sweeping the Lady Knights 25-17, 25-10, 25-13 to stay unbeaten in district play. Cove improves to 23-7 overall and 3-0 in 12-5A with the win.
Arielle Garcia also finished with 16 digs while Claire Taylor and Jessica Vick added 12 and nine digs a piece. Amy Rosenbaum tallied 33 assists in the sweep for the Lady Dawgs. Andrea Hurt had nine kills and 9 blocks in the win.
The Lady Knights were led by Katie Shulte with 12 assists and a number of Heights players registered kills in the loss. The Lady Knights has multiple players pick up digs, totaling 14 on the night.
Katie Shulte led Heights with 12 assists, and Shantraie Rodriguez led with five kills and Anjane Janda and Starnisha Bodies both had four. Janda led with nine digs.
Thursday, September 8
Blown 2-0 lead leaves Cove Dawg-gone angry
Georgetown rallied, winning the final three games and the match (20-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-14, 16-14).
But despite the loss — Cove's second in a row — and how it played out, the match was going to benefit the Lady Dawgs no matter what. It's just another big test to set them up for District 12-5A play, which begins Friday. Cove, which was erroneously ranked the No. 18 team in 4A by the Texas Girls Coaches Association last week, faces Shoemaker at home.
"Playing a team like Georgetown — they're not going to lay down for you," Cove head coach Cari Lowery said. "When we play some teams, after a point they're going to lay down. They just quit playing because they go, 'Oh well, here we go again.'
"I'd rather have to work and work and work."
Georgetown has reached the playoffs
every season since 2006, including a state semifinal appearance in 2009. Cedar Park Vista Ridge, who beat Cove on Friday, is the state's sixth-ranked Class 4A team.
"I knew coming into these last two before district we could lose both of them," Lowery said. "But I also thought we could win both of them, but I knew we'd have to play really well. It's more important — even if you lose — to play quality teams that are going to help you down the road."
Added senior setter Amy Rosenbaum: "We feel good but we've got some things to work on before we're playoff ready. Tonight was a learning experience and if we learn from it, then it's good, like coach Lowery says. If it's not, then we really just had another loss for nothing."
Cove (20-7) had its chances.
The Lady Dawgs rattled off eight of the final nine points in Game 1. With the score 17-17, Georgetown (22-8) scored twice to force a Cove timeout. The Lady Dawgs responded with that run.
Cove then held off a Lady Eagles rally in Game 2, leading 22-12 before Georgetown cut it to 24-22. An Andrea Hurt kill — she finished with eight — stopped the bleeding and gave Cove a 2-0 lead in the match. But it didn't stop Georgetown's momentum.
The Lady Eagle hitters had numerous chances to attack the net with little or no Cove block to defend them. Cove's defense did what it could — senior libero Clare Taylor led the way with 28 digs while Brittney Johnson added 18.
But Georgetown was able to find space, scoring 11 of the final 13 points in Game 3 and running off 11 straight points in Game 4.
"We had some spectacular digs with no block in sight," Lowery said. "So, our blocking wasn't good tonight. If our blocking is good, our defense is even better."
In Game 5, Cove erased 11-8 and 14-11 deficits, tying the score each time. Hurt (seven blocks) followed a Rosenbaum ace with a kill off a free ball at the net, giving the Lady Dawgs at chance at redemption.
It was short-lived — Georgetown's Jennie Loerch put down two straight kills to end it. The second was set up by some Cove miscommunication that ultimately sent a free ball to the net, where Loerch was waiting for it.
But the Lady Dawgs know where they stand.
"We haven't peaked yet," said Rosenbaum, who had 29 assists and six blocks. "We have some things to work on, but I feel pretty confident about going into district."
Tuesday's Top Performers
Glynna Johnson, Gatesville: 24 kills, 4 blocks, 3 aces in sweep of Waco University
Lauren Clark, Florence: 12 kills, 30 digs, 6 aces in five-set Lady Buffs win over Granger
Tealey Farquhar, Lampasas: 11 aces and 14 digs in five-set victory over Little-River Academy
Amy Rosenbaum, Copperas Cove: 29 assists, 6 blocks, four aces in five-set loss to Georgetown
Kaitlin Poe, Gatesville: 32 assists and four blocks in sweep of Waco University
Friday, August 26
Lady Dawgs go 1-2 at Leander tourney
The Copperas Cove volleyball team headed just down the road for its final tournament this year, going 1-2 Thursday on the first day of pool play at the Leander ISD Volleypalooza.
Cove (14-5) won its final match of the day, beating Burnet (25-12, 25-21) for the second time this year — the Lady Bulldawgs swept Burnet at home last week. The Lady Dawgs dropped matches to San Antonio MacArthur (25-18, 27-25) and Elgin (26-24, 21-25, 25-21).
The tournament goes into a second day of pool play today, with Cove heading to Pool 1. The Lady Dawgs face Austin McCallum at 11 a.m., Conroe at 1:30 p.m. and Cleburne at 5:15 p.m. All three matches will be at Cedar Park High
Friday the Lady Dawgs win against McCallum in two, St. Michael's in three, and Cleburne in tow. Go Lady Dawgs.
Lady Dawgs are set to play Saturday at 10:00 at Leander High School. Opponent to be determined.
Wednesday, August 24
Lady Dawgs win with team effort at Vandegrift
After losing a back-and-forth match with Gatesville, Copperas Cove watched Leander Vandegrift take care of the Hornets in the Lady Dawg Invitational championship on Aug. 13.
The still-young Lady Vipers left an impression on the Lady Dawgs, knowing they would have to face them on the road less than two weeks later.
It was an impression, but Cove still took care of business, beating Vandegrift 25-23, 8-25, 25-11, 25-16 Tuesday on the road.
The contributions came from everywhere for Cove, especially at the service line where Qiana Canete, Jessica Vick and Arielle Garcia tallied three aces each.
Canete added a team-high seven blocks and 10 kills, while senior setter Amy Rosenbaum had 43 assists to go with four blocks. Andrea Hurt led the way with 16 kills, while Claire Taylor 19 digs.
Friday, August 19
The Lady Bulldawgs made quick work of China Spring and Lampasas on the first day of the Gatesville Tournament. The sweep over Lampasas (25-12, 25-7) puts Cove in the semifinals, where the Lady Dawgs meet Lago Vista at 2 p.m. Saturday.
It's a scenario Lowery will obviously take, but could have done without.
"Oh yeah, you can't do much better in rally scoring than 25-7 to go win a game," she said. "But that's why we kind of usually go away for tournaments. You play local tournaments, you're going to play the same teams over and over again."
For the Lady Dawgs, that meant facing both China Spring and Lampasas for the second time in six days.
"I would have done something different in our bracket had I seen (Gatesville coach Rickey Phillips') bracket first and known who we might have here," Lowery said.
Cove beat China Spring to open bracket play Saturday at the Lady Dawg Invitational. After facing Gatesville, who is also in the semifinals, the Lady Dawgs played Lampasas a few hours later for third place. And like six days prior, Cove won both meetings.
"China Spring and Lampasas are both really good teams," Lowery said. "It's hard to play two people like that two weeks in a row. They know what you're going to do and I was proud of the girls because they didn't underestimate either team.
"They played aggressively, we tweaked a couple of things and we did it today, and they're doing some things that we had in our one whole day of practice that we had."
The Cove-Lago Vista winner faces either Gatesville or Marble Falls for the title. Cove nearly had a Saturday meeting with District 12-5A foe Harker Heights.
The Lady Knights held off a feisty Florence team, which rallied from dropping the opener to win a close Game 2.
The rally fizzled from there however, with Heights taking the final game to move on. The Lady Knights then swept Dublin (25-19, 25-13) before falling to Lago Vista (25-17, 25-19).
Florence met Salado on the other side of the bracket – the Lady Eagles lost to Lago Vista to open play.
Salado swept the match (25-15, 25-13) and will face Hillsboro at 4 p.m. Saturday. Heights faces Lampasas one hour before, while Florence plays Hamilton at 8 a.m. in the new gym.
Elsewhere, Killeen split its two matches, including a three-set win over the Gatesville Gold, and now plays Shoemaker at 11 a.m. in the new gym.
Shoemaker had the shortest day of the 23 teams, playing just one match – a sweep at the hands of Gatesville.
Like Cove on Thursday and last weekend, Gatesville took care of business to reach the semifinals and faces Marble Falls at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Gatesville swept its matches but started slow, giving Waco University and Shoemaker both chances to put the Hornets on their heels a bit.
"We played them last year and we didn't play them as well as we did today, so to me that's the positive that we see – the fact that you can come back and compete against the same team and do better," Shoemaker coach Merdith Shaw-Moore said.
The rallies were short-lived however, and Gatesville never give Waco Reicher a chance to end the day.
"We made two November plays there when we were 12 points up," Phillips said. "Those are the kinds of plays you expect to see in November when you're playing for a lot more than a third-round tournament game."
Wednesday, August 17
Victory brightens frustrating day for Lady Dawgs
COPPERAS COVE — Tuesday didn't start well for the Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs.
But by 7:30 p.m., most of the day's problems were long gone.
Cove head coach Cari Lowery was done worrying about the gym's video equipment that wasn't working for whatever reason.
Or the miscommunication that meant Cove and visiting Burnet played without official referees, instead using a few volunteers and a couple of student helpers.
Her team did what it needed to do though. And the Lady Dawgs even got a pleasant surprise along the way in putting away Burnet 25-19, 25-22, 25-18.
"It was just one of those days," Lowery said. "We're in in-service and they're doing nothing all day long then showing up for a game or practice. When school starts next week, I'll be expecting a whole lot more."
The Lady Dawgs (8-2) did get a lift and possible extra piece to their rotation in sophomore Destiny Henderson.
"I'm pleased with (the day) because I got to see Destiny and she did a good job. That helps because Carlie (Tuiasosopo) wasn't playing well tonight and that's going to happen," said Lowery, adding senior middle blocker Andrea Hurt played through shoulder pain. "People — especially when they're young — can get down on themselves and you just almost can't get them back up sometimes.
"Destiny stepped right in there. She's been never been in that spot at all. ... She got in there and was fearless."
Normally a defensive player, Henderson played in the final two games and did so at the net as well as the back row.
She picked up a kill early in Game 3, then added another to put Cove up 16-10 and force a Burnet (6-4) timeout.
During one sequence, Burnet's frontline blocked a Henderson kill attempt. She dug out the ball and kept it in play, however, and moved over to block a Burnet kill.
"I was hoping for what I saw," Lowery said. "I was expected her to just get in there, be aggressive and cover her spot, but I wasn't expected to get in there, be fearless and hit it. "I like those little aggressive and fearless ones."
Should Henderson force her way back into the lineup, she'll join an already offensive-minded Cove team that kept Burnet on its heels throughout the match.
While both teams put runs together, most of Burnet's consecutive points didn't come from its own play, but rather mistakes on the other side of the net. The Lady Bulldogs fell behind 20-12 in Game 1, holding off game point three times — twice on Cove errors — before a serving error ended it.
Hurt led Cove with 10 kills, while Qiana Canete (nine) and Lily Ayala (eight) were close behind.
"Copperas Cove has a great offense — very quick, very powerful hitters," Burnet head coach Bethany Grissom said. "And we were kind of on the defense the whole time. I never thought we were able to get any offense brewing."
Game 2 was the closest of the three and featured 11 ties. Burnet held a 16-15 lead, but the Lady Dawgs answered with five of the next six points.
Burnet rallied again, tying it at 21-all, but Cove pushed through and scored four of the game's final five points.
Sunday, August 14
Until the two met Saturday afternoon, both the Lady Bulldawgs and Hornets rolled through not only their pools but their first-round opponents in the Gold Division bracket.
They played a dramatic, back-and-forth match that had nearly every set of eyes in the gym focused on the main court.
"Even the coaches from the other court were looking over," Cove senior setter Amy Rosenbaum said. "It was an awesome feeling just to know that we were the match to watch."
But it wasn't the championship game.
Instead, the tournament's reigning champion (Cove) and the state's seventh-ranked 3A team (Gatesville) met in the semifinals with the Hornets edging the Lady Dawgs in a three-game thriller (25-23, 14-25, 25-23), the only games the Lady Dawgs dropped in tournament play. Cove later beat neighboring Lampasas for third place.
Then Gatesville, in what may have been an emotional letdown from the semifinal win, ran into a Leander Vandegrift squad that quickly seized the momentum in the tournament final and ultimately the match.
"I don't want to take anything away from Vandegrift — it could have," Gatesville coach Rickey Phillips said of any carryover from the semifinal win. "That's the last thing I told our kids in the huddle before we started (the championship). I said, 'You have to have equal or better effort than what we had against Cove.'"
Despite trailing to start both games, Vandegrift rallied each time, holding off a late Hornet stand to come out with the 25-17, 25-22 win and tournament title.
"Vandegrift kind of got rolling," Phillips said. "All the momentum went to their side and stayed there most of the match. They were the better team today."
The final, though, was played in front of fans from just two schools and tournament personnel and workers. A number of other schools were in the stands when Cove and Gatesville met at 1 p.m.
Gatesville received the benefit of playing two high-intensity matches a week into the season. And while Cove had the one, the benefit is just the same.
"Both teams got better from that game," Cove coach Cari Lowery said. "We saw some weaknesses that we needed to work on — you can't be as good as you're going to be right now because that's as good as you're going to be. We want to keep getting better."
Added Phillips: "You don't get much done when you're beating folks 25-7, 25-8. You got to get your butt kicked every once in a while just to see what's wrong. And hopefully we take something positive out of this and get it corrected for next week."
Gatesville won a back-and-forth Game 1 before Cove used a 7-0 run to control Game 2.
In the finale, the Hornets took an early 7-2 lead before Cove rallied. The Lady Dawgs had their final lead at 23-21, but Gatesville then scored the match's final four points.
Cove followed up against Lampasas, whose up-and-down play continued as it had much of the tournament. The Lady Badgers, having to work players into new positions, rallied after dropping Game 1 to Johnson City to reach the semifinals.
Against Vandegrift, Lampasas took the opener 25-19, but couldn't finish.
"We have had some hot-and-cold moments these last couple days," Lampasas coach Beth Rutland said. "I think we're making some progress and they're learning a lot about themselves. We can build on it."
LADY DAWG INVITATIONAL
Championship: Leander Vandegrift def. Gatesville 25-17, 25-22
Third place: Copperas Cove def. Lampasas 25-20, 25-14
Gatesville def. Cove 25-23, 14-25, 25-23
Vandegrift def. Lampasas 19-25, 25-20, 25-16
Cove def. China Spring 25-19, 25-11
Gatesville def. Central Texas Christian 25-19, 25-13
Lampasas def. Johnson City 11-25, 25-19, 25-17
Wednesday, August 10
Experienced Lady Dragons win at Cove
When it’s all said and done, the Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs could be what most area fans think they are — a playoff team and contender for the District 12-5A title.
Right now, though, they are a team still trying to fit the right pieces together.
On Tuesday, Cove faced an experienced team in Round Rock and actually got an early jump on the Lady Dragons before the Lady Dawgs’ inexperience kicked in. When it was over, Round Rock walked away with a 20-25, 25-10, 25-19, 25-21 victory at Cove to open its season.“The difference between them and us tonight was experience,” Cove head coach Cari Lowery said. “That’s a club program — those girls play together year round. That’s all they do is volleyball and that’s just the difference.”Lowery quickly pointed to the multiple long rallies throughout and how Round Rock (1-0) always found a way to make a play and find a weak spot in Cove’s defense.“We just put it back in play,” said. “And had we passed the ball like we’ve been passing tonight, we would have beat them or it would have gone five (games) at least. We just didn’t pass well at all.“We weren’t talking well and that’s experience too.”
It didn’t start that way.Cove (2-1) actually dominated the start, leading 17-8. Round Rock got back in the game, but the Lady Dawgs held on for the Game 1 win.
Then the momentum swung.“We’ve played in some scrimmages, but I’d say there were a little bit of nerves out there,” Round Rock coach Diane Watson said. “Once they settled in and stuff, I felt like they did pretty well.“But I thought that Copperas Cove did a fantastic job on defense, and I like that early on in the season, too, because it makes my hitters not get overly confident — it makes them have to work for something.”It wasn’t just Round Rock’s hitting that frustrated Cove, but the Lady Dragons’ serving as well. Their servers registered six aces in Game 2.Three times Round Rock had aces on back-to-back points, while Lauren Taft did so for four straight points to turn a 10-8 Cove lead to a 13-10 Lady Dragon advantage they wouldn’t give up.“You have to learn who to pass beside and who passes well,” Lowery said. “And if they’re not talking, then people are reaching instead of listening and calling off.”Carlie Tuiasosopo led Cove with six kills, while Arielle Garcia and Qiana Canete had five each. Canete added seven solo blocks, Claire Taylor led with 17 digs and Amy Rosenbaum had 21 assists.
Despite the outcome, Lowery said facing teams like Round Rock will only help down the road.“We played them there last year and they beat us in three (games) and the first two games they smoked us,” Lowery said. “But we need to be playing people like that and you’re not always going to beat people like that.”
Wednesday, August 10
Volleyball: Lady Goats, Lady Lions no match for Cove
And Cari Lowery doesn't expect it to be.
"If it's perfect this time of year, you're in trouble," said the Copperas Cove head coach. "Because there's nowhere to go."
So, even though the Lady Bulldawgs picked up a pair of wins Monday to open the season, there's still room for improvement. They even did as much from one match to another Monday.
Cove dominated an overmatched Groesbeck team (25-9, 25-10, 25-16), only to change its lineup before facing former district rival Waco and coming out with another three-set victory (25-15, 25-17, 25-5).
"You got to have stuff to work on," Lowery said. "We're still trying to figure it out and it may be different tomorrow."
It could be — Cove (2-0) is back on its home court taking on Round Rock tonight.
And the week doesn't slow down.
The Lady Dawgs host the Cove Tournament on Thursday and Saturday. It's done by design — volleyball teams only began workouts last week and following two days of building their roster, the Lady Dawgs had just two days of actual practice together before scrimmages.
"The only thing that we benefit from that's better than anybody else is we have air conditioning — we're not out in the 120-degree heat," Lowery said. "So I won't complain, but this season — by the time you start school, it's time for district."
Cove did end well Monday, closing out Waco in dominating fashion after going back and forth with the Lady Lions for much of the start. That included a lineup change — junior Arielle Garcia entered on the back line and picked up four aces in Game 3.
More new faces include sophomores Qiana Canete, who was moved up to the varsity late last season, and Brittney Johnson. They'll be asked to pick up where graduated all-district hitters Phyllicia Cross and Alex Chace left off in 2010.
Canete, a middle blocker, had 12 kills and five solo blocks for the day. She and Johnson scored three of Cove's final four points to put away Waco.
But it isn't just the sophomores. The tweaking from a year ago includes senior middle blocker Andrea Hurt becoming more of a focal point and fellow senior Lily Ayala giving the Lady Dawgs an option on the right side.
"Everybody's got the big outside hitters," Lowery said. "I think that our middle attack is going to be what comes and hurts people, and our right-side attack."
That's how the opener started against Groesbeck, which struggled throughout. After four straight Lady Goat errors gave Cove a 4-1 lead, a Lady Dawg error cut the lead in half before setter Amy Rosenbaum (41 assists) found Hurt in the middle for one kill and Ayala on the right side for another.
Cove stretched its lead to 12-3 before Groesbeck called timeout, only to quickly make it a double-digit advantage.
In Game 2, Cove scored 10 of the first 12 points, including a nine-point run that featured kills from both Hurt and Ayala and a combined block from the two.
Sunday, August 7
Volleyball 2011: Players to Watch
Amy Rosenbaum, Copperas Cove
The Baylor commit and senior setter took on more roles last year and it may have been for the better. The 6-footer not only set her teammates — she was 12-5A most valuable setter for the second year in a row — but as the team's tallest player she tallied 167 blocks. And when she wasn't setting, Rosenbaum was an offensive threat, putting down 258 kills.
Tuesday, August 2
Saturday, September 17
Copperas Cove Volleyball
Thursday, September 22
Dawgs sweep Bryan but don't impress coach
"The good news is we did not play well and we still won," Cove's head coach said after the Lady Dawgs beat Bryan 25-17, 25-19, 25-19 on Tuesday. "That's the good news. The better news is it's over."It wasn't all bad for Cove. The Lady Dawgs improved to 4-0 in District 12-5A play.
Cove (24-7) and A&M Consolidated meet next week in College Station, ending a stretch for the Lady Dawgs in which they face the other three 12-5A playoff teams for the last three years. It started with Tuesday's win over Bryan (11-21, 1-3) and continues at home Friday against Belton.
It's just the ways things are in 12-5A, Lowery said.
"You have to play. You have to play all the way through," she continued. "That's what district is all about. If you get out of district, it's better for you because you've had to play tough and different kinds of teams."
In the opening game, the Lady Dawgs quickly built a 10-1 lead. They forced a Bryan timeout while the Lady Vikings had four unforced errors during the run. "We're struggling right now because we make a lot of errors," Bryan head coach Caroline Simpson said. "We're trying to work through that. That's a part of our game that we're not fixing right now so it's real frustrating.
"They're unforced errors. They're not errors the other team is making us make."
Cove did its part during the run. Juniors Arielle Garcia and Carlie Tuiasosopo each had a pair of kills, while senior Amy Rosenbaum collected one of her seven blocks to go with an ace that stretched the lead to nine points.
But as fast as Cove went up 10-1, the large lead disappeared as the Lady Dawgs struggled in finding any offensive consistency.
It was an issue Lowery and her players said they could sense even before the match began.
"There was something weird about tonight — we all had a weird feeling about it," said Rosenbaum, who had 32 assists to go with the seven blocks. "It was good that we won, but it was a little rough. Something just wasn't right about the last two practices.
"Our chemistry was off, our talking was off, everything was just not in line."
Bryan rallied in Game 1, getting to within two points before Cove scored eight of the final 10 points. The Lady Vikings also held leads in each of the final two games.
The Lady Dawgs couldn't match the two big runs they had in the opener until Game 3 — Cove turned a 12-12 game into a 20-13 lead. There was only one other time Cove scored more than three points in a row.
Tuiasosopo had eight kills, while Qiana Canete posted 10 kills and seven blocks. Claire Taylor led the defense with 22 digs.
"Bryan did some smart stuff to try and hurt us and take us out of our rhythm, and they did that," Lowery said. "Our offense just was not clicking. Our defense looked phenomenal, but we didn't finish the play with our offense."
Saturday, October 1
Lady Dawgs sweep Temple
TEMPLE — A trio of Lady Bulldawgs posted double-digit dig totals Friday to help the Lady Dawgs sweep Temple 25-11, 25-21, 25-14, and stay right behind A&M Consolidated in the District 12-5A race.
Jessica Vick led the defense with 14 digs, while Brittney Johnson and Arielle Garcia added 13 and 12, respectively. Also helping on defense was Andrea Hurt and Amy Rosenbaum, who combined for nine blocks.
Rosenbaum added 32 assists while Hurt led Cove with seven kills.