By Jeffery Armstrong
The heat was stifling inside the Jonesboro High gym Thursday evening, but the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals volleyball team didn't let it deter them from a tri-match sweep to start their season at 2-0.
The Lady Cardinals, defending Area 2-AAAAA champions, made excellent serves and played great defense, defeating the Morrow Lady Mustangs 25-13, 25-19, 25-10 and the Stockbridge Lady Tigers 25-13, 25-7, 25-10.
Morrow managed to salvage one match win, defeating Stockbridge 25-8, 25-15, 25-9 to improve its record to 1-1.
The Jonesboro-Morrow rivalry has been a good matchup over the years, but the Lady Cardinals dominated the Lady Mustangs Thursday with strong serves and strong defensive play.
Game one was very close as both teams made good passes, with Morrow's Brittney Watson and Tara Ramsey getting good digs on Jonesboro's hard serves. Morrow trailed 12-9 before Jonesboro's LaTreace Johnson took over the game.
The junior outside hitter had a hand in six of the next 13 Jonesboro points via dinks, kills and service aces as the Lady Cardinals went on a 13-4 run to win the first game 25-13.
Morrow sprinted out to an early 4-1 lead with kills from Jordan Greenleaf and kept it up until Jonesboro made a furious comeback.
A service ace by Jonesboro's Shade' Smith later tied the game at 14 and a kill by Sheena Brown gave Jonesboro its first lead at 16-15.
The Lady Cardinals then went on a 9-4 run to win game two.
Morrow again started strong in game 3, keeping the score close thanks to great plays from Patrece Booker, Danielle Taylor and Greenleaf. The score was 6-5 Jonesboro when Lady Cardinals' senior setter Lauren Wood sparked them on a 10-0 run to break the game open. Wood had seven service aces out of eight serves to get the score to 16-5 and the Cardinals rode the momentum to win going away 25-10.
Jonesboro dominated a very young Stockbridge team in their three-game sweep, sprinting to leads of 22-11, 21-6 and 21-7 before putting the games away. The Lady Tigers couldn't handle the strong Jonesboro serves all match long. Senior Monica Gennadopolous had several service aces for Jonesboro in games two and three.
"I think we started a little slow, but we came on later," said Jonesboro head coach Dan Maehlman. "We've improved our defense and this group is really athletic n we're not afraid to get on the floor."
Morrow also dominated Stockbridge, running to big leads as well before winning. Morrow slipped a little in game two, letting Stockbridge take an 8-4 lead before rallying to tie the game at nine.
Morrow soon led 13-12 and then went on a 10-0 run, thanks to seven service aces by Morrow's Ramsey.
Greenleaf's timely kill shots put game three and the match away.
"We're okay now, but we're definitely not where we need to be," said Morrow head coach Yolanda Jenkins. "We've got to do better at controlling the ball and we've got to attack more. We need to have a killer instinct."