It is hard to really get a grasp of what a team is going to be like so early in the season, but if there were ever a measuring-stick opportunity in the third match of a season – this was it.

Last night, at the Wigwam, the Lady Warriors of Southwestern got a chance to let out some post-season aggression as they faced the Lady Lakers of Russell County in a rematch of last season’s 12th Region-Final Four.

The Lady Warriors showed championship poise as they systematically dismantled the 12th Region runner-up from last season. The Lady Lakers lost eight seniors from that team, but still boast a roster laden with upperclassmen with eight seniors and a pair of juniors. The Lady Warriors took the match 25-15, 25-11.

“That was the most intensity I have seen since I have been here,” said Southwestern head coach James Cox. “They knocked us out of the region last year, and we really wanted them tonight. It was a big-time match, and if our girls continue to come out with this kind of intensity and hold it all the way through – it’s going to be a great season for us.”

Southwestern (3-0) would weather an early storm by Russell County (1-1) as it was a battle of attrition up front in the early part of the first game.

The height of the Lady Lakers on the front line seemed to be poison for the Lady Warriors as Russell would build a slight lead early, but overall teamwork by Southwestern proved to be the antidote.

“We were really pumped,” said senior Courtney Compton. “We warmed up as a team, we played as a team and we didn’t lose it. Usually we get pumped up and lose it, but pushed through it as a team for the win.”

The first game would see excellent service by Compton along with sophomore Amber Phelps as they went a combined 19-for-21 with Compton providing six aces.

Phelps also contributed with another solid performance in the middle supplying eight of the ten team assists with the other two going to Brooke Sexton.

The Lady Warrior front line would be led by the power and finesse of Brooke Flynn with her seven kills, four of which coming courtesy of assists from Phelps. Kelsey Roberts chimed in with three authoritative kills with Compton smacking down a pair of her own.

The first game would be close for a while, but the overall team effort of the Lady Warriors overwhelmed the Lady Lakers 25-15.

The atmosphere in the gymnasium was that of mid-season basketball game as a large contingent of Warrior nation showed their support complete with a section of students in full body paint. The familiar pounding of the Warrior-drum beat in the bleachers provided a boost for the Lady Warriors on the floor.

“The crowd tonight was awesome.” Added the Lady Warriors head coach. “The girls seemed to really feed off of that – this was the best crowd I have had since I have been here.”

Southwestern jumped to an early lead in game two with early dominance from the service line coupled with brilliant play up front.

The team of Phelps and Compton again had astounding numbers on the serve going a combined 14-for-14 with Compton landing another four aces and Phelps scoring a trio of aces in succession in her second service late in the second game.

Sexton along with Sara Volpi did some damage from the line as well going five-for-seven while they each provided a pair of aces.

Another eight kills from the Southwestern vanguard coupled with Phelps dominance of the middle with her six assists crushed the bigger Russell County team. The Lady Warriors took the second game 25-11 to win the match in straight games giving Southwestern their third consecutive victory of the season.

“Tonight we showed signs of a mature team,” commented Coach Cox. “In the past we seemed to give up a little in the second game – it was really important for us, mentally, to put away a good team.”

Thursday night August 16th the Lady Warriors will host Mercer County at the Wigwam with the freshman match beginning at 5pm followed by a junior varsity contest; the varsity match is scheduled for 7pm.

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