ANNA - Aubrey’s Lady Chaparrals burst from the gate quickly and trailed just once in dispatching Anna in straight sets on Sept. 25 in District 11-4A action at Anna High School. By counts of 25-15, 25-15, 25-18, the Lady Chaps rolled a 2-0 district mark and a first-place tie with Celina. Slow starts hounded the 0-2 Lady Coyotes throughout the match. Aubrey opened Sets 1, 2 and 3, with leads of 7-1, 12-1 and 11-3, respectively, and those mighty holes proved to fatal to Anna’s chances. Note: Throw out the early surges and the Lady Chaps’ combined advantage for the match was 45-43 — basically a toss-up.


“That’s the frustrating part,” Crosby said. “Not taking anything from Aubrey, but I felt like that was a team we were going to battle with and who knows what the outcome was going to be. I’m not saying they were one we were going to be able to beat but they were one we were going to be able to battle with if we gave ourselves a chance.


“To sum it up, we didn’t play defense … and that’s the end result. We didn’t play great defense and we had a lot of hitting errors. All around, we made a lot of mistakes and against a team as good as Aubrey you can’t make those mistakes and bounce back.”


Big-hitting Kaia Saylor was a key factor in the Lady Chaps’ dominance this night. The tall junior smacked down kill after kill to various spots in the Anna defense. “[We were] just mixing it up, getting our hitters involved,” first-year Aubrey head coach Whitney Stout said. “Obviously, Kaia is a difference-maker out there on the court. But the last few games Katie Schmitz has hit well and our other outside [hitter], Wylie [Dyer], had a good night. Lauren [Knapp] also had a good night. At different times, different hitters have stepped up for us. And we had good passing tonight.”


The Lady Chaps were fresh off a come-from-behind, five-set win over Sanger on Friday. Anna fell in its district-opener at Melissa, three sets to one.


Of the Lady Coyotes’ 22 kills versus Aubrey, Hannah Howell knocked down seven and Qua Fisher added five. Bella Boyd recorded 11 of Anna’s 21 set-assists while Haley Thornburg posted 10. Boyd also notched the Lady Coyotes’ lone service ace of the match. Rachel Goade and Lexi Stewart tallied a solo block each, and libero Julianne Curiel dug up a team-high nine balls, and Howell was next with six.


Anna’s lone lead of the night, 1-0, came in Set 1 on an errant Aubrey shot. Down, 7-1, Howell stroked the Lady Coyotes’ first offensive point of the match with a kill from the left side. Her next big swing was followed by one from Fisher and a Lexi Stewart block that got the Lady Coyotes to within 15-8. Boyd then lipped her ace over the net to cut the lead to six, but Anna would get no closer. Trailing, 22-13, Crosby went to timeout though from there three Aubrey kills - spaced by single kills from Fisher and Howell - ended it.


Clawing back from 12-1 in Set 2 proved difficult as well. Again it was Howell from the left that swatted the Lady Coyotes’ first offensive point, this time setting the score at 15-3. Back-to-back kills from Aubreanna Traylor and Fisher made it 17-6 as Anna fought to recover. The Lady Coyotes showed some life down the stretch with kills from Howell, Goade, Stewart and Traylor but it wasn’t enough. After Traylor’s next big hit at the net trimmed the margin to 24-15, Saylor closed it out with a left-side kill to the deep middle.


In Set 3, Anna’s first offensive point came from Howell once more, a lob kill to the right corner for an 11-4 Lady Coyotes deficit. Kills from Fisher, Goade and Howell — and a Goade block — kept Anna within 20-11 before a Lady Chaps hitting-error run cut Aubrey’s advantage to 21-16. But a Fisher kill down the left side would be Anna’s final offensive point and soon a sharp, left-to-right ball from Saylor ended the match.


“I told the girls we’re 0-2,” Crosby said. “And even though that’s not where we wanted to be, it’s not too late to turn it around. Our goal is to get into the playoffs and that is still our goal. We’ve got to come out playing aggressively at the very beginning — playing hard, playing great defense. And if we do those little things that we’ve been doing, and that we’ve been known to do, the outcome will be different.”


On Sept. 28, the Lady Coyotes were topped at Sanger in three sets, 25-19, 25-11, 25-21. Howell and Traylor led Anna with four kills each while Goade, Stewart and Madison Williams had three apiece. Boyd and Thornburg split 16 set assists and Traylor posted the Lady Coyotes’ lone service ace. Curiel collected 11 of the team’s 31 digs while Fisher, Traylor, Morrison, Williams and Howell each collected a solo block.