By Tony Adams for Temple College
TEMPLE, Texas – The Temple College Leopards volleyball team heads to Weatherford College Saturday following an exciting match this week against Cisco College, during which the Leopards clinched a 3-1 win, their first conference win of the season.
After losing to Cisco in the first game of the match, the Leopards won the next two sets and fought off six game-points in the fourth game with an 8-0 run to clinch the win.
“What I was most proud of was that their composure stayed the same and they didn’t get frantic in the last game,” said head coach Rachel Melancon. “There was no hesitation; there was good effort. They were tired and they had to choose between being tired or winning. … They played through it. They were very coachable. Not just one or two players. All six players on the floor and the team on the bench brought energy.”
The final scores of the match were 20-25, 25-11, 25-18 and 26-24.
The opening game had early ebbs and flows, as Cisco’s 6-3 lead was erased by a four-point run. TC’s Haley Tucker (Cameron) picked up two kills early and both were set up by Libby Flores (Lufkin).
The teams stayed neck-and-neck before the Wranglers finished the opening game on a 6-1 run to take the opening game.
With adjustments in hand from the coaches, the Leopards entered game two with a new vision.
The Leopards never trailed in the set, as they started the second game with a kill from Nyla Lewis (Round Rock). The Leopards grabbed an early 3-0 lead.
Cisco crawled back to within two points before the Leopards mounted a 7-4 stretch and ended the game with a 13-4 run. Flores and Emily Widner came up with clutch digs while Tucker, Lewis, Lexi Manning (Celina), Jordyn Carpenter (Fort Worth) and Mia Dunaway (New Braunfels) were delivering kill shots to pull the Leopards even at the conclusion of the second game.
“In the first game, we made a lot of unforced errors, and we scored a lot of their points,” Melancon said. “I write those down. So, I listed them. We changed our serving strategy to make it to where we wouldn’t miss as many. I am a high-risk, high-reward kind of person. Because we are so young, it’s too early for that. We adjusted well to that. I told them that if they looked at their unforced errors and the points that you gave them and you lost by five, you can win by simply by doing what we prepare on our side.”
Much in the way they started game two, the Leopards scored the first six points of Game Three and bolted out to a 12-3 lead.
The Wranglers pulled to within four points before a late run put TC in the driver’s seat. Manning and Lewis had instrumental kills, while Widner and Hayley Mabee (Marion) were working hard, digging the volleyballs from hitting the deck.
The Leopards won 25-18.
The fourth game was an early seesaw affair, as the teams traded the first 16 points back and forth.
Cisco’s 16-10 stretch put the Wranglers at game point, 24-18, before the Leopards mounted an exciting attack.
TC garnered three kills from Tucker during the next six points to tie the score at 24-24. The Leopards managed to get an unforced error by the Wranglers to flip the tables from a game-point situation for Cisco to a game-point and match-point scenario. TC was able to get the game-winning point and emerged with a 3-1 win.
“I told them that they didn’t have to do anything special,” Melancon said. “I have been around awhile and I have seen some comebacks. That was a good one.”
On Saturday, the Leopards travel to Weatherford College to take on the Coyotes at 1 p.m.
The next home games are:
- Wednesday, Oct. 4 – Vs. Southwestern Christian College at 6 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 7 – Vs. Vernon College at 1 p.m.
- Wednesday, Oct. 11 – Vs. North Central Texas College at 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, Oct. 25 – Vs. Weatherford College at 6 p.m.
Temple College home games are broadcast live online with play-by-play announcer Tony Adams on PlaySight at https://bit.ly/TCVolleyballLIVE.