Lubbock-Cooper turns away Abilene High, remains unbeaten in District 4-5A volleyball play

Dana Hill was nervous coming into Abilene High’s Eagle Gym. The Lubbock-Cooper volleyball coach knows it’s a tough place to play with a loud, lively atmosphere.

But her Lady Pirates took care of business in a 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 victory over the Lady Eagles on Tuesday to remain unbeaten in District 4-5A play.

“We were intentional this week about practicing in a loud atmosphere, because we knew what would we face here,” Hill said. “We just feel lucky and really blessed to get a win against a great team.”

Lubbock-Cooper (28-4 overall, 5-0 district) had too much firepower for AHS.

Hill’s daughter, D’Mya, had a match-high 14 kills and Hope Douglass added 11 as the Lady Pirates had a 62-42 advantage on kills. Paige Rollins had 19 assists. Ava Hounshell had 16 digs, and Rollins had 10. Douglass also had two blocks.

Jadyn Hernandez led AHS (13-17, 4-2) with eight kills, and Mia Cairo had five. Alexis Dolton had 18 assists, and Kinzley Cantu led her team with seven digs. Cairo also had two blocks.

Bittersweet loss

It was a bittersweet night for the Lady Eagles. They showed they could play with Lubbock-Cooper, but they wanted more.

“I am happy,” AHS coach Caroline Cleveland said. “I think as a whole overall, we’re a little frustrated because we knew we could hang with them. It just wasn’t our best performance. We competed and battled, but it was a tough one.”

The Lady Pirates, ranked No. 7 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s Class 5A state poll, have a knack for closing games – something that was evident in all three games Tuesday night.

Game 1 was tied at 22 but Lubbock-Cooper pulled away at the end. The Lady Pirates also reeled off five straight points to take a 22-15 lead in Game 2, and D’Mya Hill got cranking in Game 3 to help her team finish off AHS. It still took a late push in Game 3 to end the match.

Lubbock-Cooper has dropped only 14 games this season – six in losses to Class 4A No. 2 Hereford and 3A No. 1 Bushland. The Lady Pirates also have a 2-1 loss to 4A No. 9 Aubrey at a tournament.

“This group is real special,” Coach Hill said. “It was nice to be challenged (by AHS), just to see how they would respond. I’m real proud how they responded. We got down early, but they were able to push back. I’m real proud of that effort.”

Lady Eagles set sights high

AHS wrapped up the first half of district play with losses to only Wylie and Lubbock-Cooper.

If the Lady Eagles can duplicate or better that mark in the second half of league play, they’ll likely make the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Cleveland said her team wants more than just to get in the postseason.

“I think we want to be better than that,” Cleveland said. “There’s so much talent on this team, they all want it really, really bad. I think we’ll be happy to be in, but we won’t be content.”

Just like her team wasn’t content to hang with Lubbock-Cooper. They wanted to beat them.

“They’re hungry for more,” Cleveland said. “The locker room was quiet. It wasn’t the outcome they wanted. It breaks all our hearts to see it, but it also shows they’re ready to go to battle again.”

AHS has a bye on Friday before beginning the second half of district at Wylie. The Lady Bulldogs (18-15, 4-1) swept Lubbock Coronado to take sole possession of second place Tuesday.

Wylie plays Lubbock-Cooper on Friday in Woodrow in a battle for first place to close the first half of district for both teams.

Coach Hill, though, believes AHS will be in the mix for the district title. She was impressed with the Lady Eagles.

“I think Abilene High is a great team,” Coach Hill said. “They’re probably going to come and battle us when they play us on our home court. A win is a win is a win, and we’re glad to get out of here with one.”


Lubbock-Cooper def. Abilene High 25-22, 25-19, 25-20

LUBBOCK-COOPER – Kills: D’Mya Hill 14, Hope Douglass 11, Kennedy Venable 8, Cameron Bouma 4, Kirsten Hodges 3, Sarah Goltz 2, Kinley Jacobs 1, Cambel Johnston 1; Assists: Paige Rollins 19, Rylee Robertson 10, Kaitlyn Caswell 7, Ava Hounshell 4; Digs: Hounshell 16, Rollins 10, D. Hill 6, Brantley Hill 6, Douglass 5, Bouma 3, Venable 3, Hodges 3, Kennedy Reed 2, Chloe Vargas 1, Jacobs 1, Johnston 1, K. Caswell 1, Maddie Caswell 1; Blocks: Douglass 2; Aces: Rollins 4, Douglass 3, Hodges 2, Robertson 1, D. Hill 1, M. Caswell 1, Bouma 1.

ABILENE HIGH – Jadyn Hernandez 8, Mia Cairo 5, Ryleigh Lawson 3, Amelia Carr 2, Allie Bennett 1, Alexis Dolton 1; Assists: Dolton 18, Yasmine Delagarza 1; Digs: Kinzley Cantu 7, Laila Brown 6, Bennett 5, Delagarza 4, Cairo 4, Carr 2, Dolton 2, Lawson 1; Blocks: Cairo 2, Hernandez 1 Carr 1; Aces: Cantu 2, Dolton 1, Brown 1, Cairo 1, Bennett 1.

RECORDS – Lubbock-Cooper 28-4, 5-0; Abilene High 13-17, 4-2.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Lubbock-Cooper turns away AHS, remains unbeaten in 4-5A volleyball