SLAMMING INTO HIGH GEAR

in Volleyball

Determined, hungry Clifton volleyball team starts season strong

CLIFTON — Sweeping to their second consecutive victory to open the 2020 Texas high school volleyball season, the Clifton Lady Cubs made quick work of the Hamilton Lady Bulldogs, 25-18, 25-12, 25-15, last Friday evening at the Clifton High School Gymnasium.

Junior Ava Anderson drove home a team-high eight kills while senior captain Bailey Ledbetter contributed 13 assists and seven digs to lead the Lady Cubs to their second straight dominating victory. Clifton has not lost a set while sweeping to back-to-back wins.

“We did a good job picking up tough balls and playing a solid defense,” Clifton volleyball’s second-year head coach Paige Poth said. “We kept our errors minimal and ran our offense really well.”

Producing another team effort, freshman Sydney Fullerton contributed five kills, seven assists and eight service receptions, sophomore Carley Caniford added four kills, six digs and four service aces, while freshman Brianna Gonzalez delivered four kills. Junior Kamryn Zint contributed a team-high 16 service receptions and three service aces, and junior Kasandra Gaona produced four service aces and six service receptions.

 “I like the energy that I’m seeing from the girls,” Poth said. “We still have a lot to work on. But with what I’m seeing right now, I’m happy about where we are at. We’ve come a long way since Aug. 1 and the progress has been tremendous. I’m excited to see where this takes us this season.”

Opening the season with four consecutive home matches, the Lady Cubs (2-0) host Rio Vista Tuesday with junior varsity starting at 5 p.m. followed by varsity at 6 p.m. Clifton will then host Tolar in another non-district matchup Saturday morning before traveling to Comanche Aug. 25 for its first road game of the season.

“After setting the tone last year, my returners came in and said this is really what they wanted again,” Poth said. “So we have picked up from there and everyone else joined in. it was nice that those girls stepped up, and it has helped us a lot.”

Armed with a host of talented underclassmen gaining experience in 2019, the Lady Cubs did not realize their dream of making the Class 3A, Division II playoffs for the first time in years. But Poth laid the foundation for the future, and the Lady Cubs made their presence known despite playing in the tough District 17-3A boasting three state-ranked teams throughout the season.

“Making the playoffs is a huge goal for this season, but we are just taking it one game at a time,” Poth said. “We have a game plan, every game is a chance to execute that game plan and do what we need to do to be ready for district.”

Photos by DAVID HARDING

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