The Nocona Lady Indians started the season off traveling to former district foe Henrietta on Tuesday night.
The Lady Indians lost a frustrating five-set match against the Lady Cats, losing momentum after winning the first two sets.
Both teams have a lot of history playing the other in recent years being in each other’s district, but with Nocona moving down a classification it seemed like a good game to start off the season.
Both teams also brought different energy into Tuesday’s game. Henrietta lost several key players to graduation that helped the program finish second in district the previous two years. The Lady Indians also lost several players to graduation and it was also the first game for new coach Kara Lucherk.
The first set quickly went Nocona’s way as everything was working. The Lady Indians led 11-4 and was ahead by double-digits at one point 18-7 before the Lady Cats started to settle down.
Henrietta went on a 15-5 run and cut the lead down to one near the end of the set with Nocona up only 23-22. Thankfully the Lady Indians were able to close things out and get the win 25-22, but the fun loving momentum that was most of set one had shifted.
Henrietta was riding that momentum early in the second set as it was up 8-2. Nocona clawed its way back to tie the score at 14-14. It was back and forth until the Lady Indians got a bit of a lead 21-19 heading into the final stretch. From there Nocona closed out the set, winning the final four points to win set two 25-19 and go up 2-0.
If it felt like the Lady Indians had stolen a set they probably should have lost, that was exacerbated by how the third set went.
Nocona never had a chance as the Lady Cats went up 13-1. Only same late set rallying to try and build some momentum for the upcoming set four allowed the Lady Indians to reach double-digits. Henrietta won the set 25-13 to cut the lead to 2-1.
Nocona had to shake off the ugliness of set three, but there was a lingering feeling the Lady Cats were in control unless something changed in the Lady Indians favor.
The beginning set four was competitive with the score tied at 5-5. Henrietta then went on a 9-1 run and looked to break the set open leading 14-6.
Nocona made a run of itself cutting the lead to 15-10. The Lady Indians battled back to within two points trailing 21-19 heading into the final stretch. Unfortunately, the Lady Cats closed out the set strong, winning four of the next five points to win 25-20 and force set five.
With the set played only to 15, any lead feels that much more meaningful in the winner-take-all set.
Nocona early on had a 3-1 lead and there was hope that despite how messy the match had gone for them the Lady Indians could maybe still escape with a win when it mattered the most.
It was not meant to be that night. Henrietta won the next six points to lead 7-3. Nocona cut the lead to two 7-5, but that would be as close as it would get. The Lady Cats lead grew and grew until they closed out the set winning 15-9 and the match 3-2.
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.