Coming off a loss in its regular-season opener against Prairiland, the Paris Lady Wildcats volleyball team successfully defended its home court while avenging its loss to the Lady Patriots with a four-set victory over a scrappy Caddo Mills team on Friday. Paris (1-1) defeated Caddo Mills by a final score of 25-17, 23-25, 25-14, and 25-9.
“After losing a very close game in the second set, I reminded the girls of what we are trying to accomplish this season,” Lady ’Cats head volleyball coach Ashley Green said. “I told them to remember consistency and the defensive aspect of the game. I told them about the things we all want to accomplish this year and how we can only do it by sticking together and being one.”
After Green talked with her team in between the second and third sets, the Lady ’Cats looked like a different team. Paris matched and surpassed the Lady Foxes’ effort and hustling while also stringing together a dominant performance on the front line.
“Getting ahead in the match really helped us get up and grab the momentum to keep pushing points,” Paris junior libero Bella Hill said. “The practices we’ve had since our last game against Prairiland really helped our attitude and momentum throughout the game. Seeing them (Caddo Mills) get down but still hustling hard pushed us to have more hustle and stay ahead.”
“Offensively, we worked on our shots and our setters set us up for success,” Lady ’Cats junior Presli Chapman said. “In practice, we’ve been working hard to execute our shots and find the holes.”
Paris held a 20-14 lead in the first set, and junior setter Lilly Lewis’ tip was the deciding point in the set. The teams were neck and neck in Wildcat Gymnasium during the second set, until the Lady Foxes grabbed a 21-17 lead after serving back-to-back aces. The Lady ’Cats made a strong charge late. The late push was highlighted by a blistering kill from Chapman that knocked a Caddo Mills defender on her back, which cut the visitors’ lead to 22-20. Senior middle blocker Hannah Gibbons recorded a block and sophomore setter Eva Vogt recorded a kill to tie the set at 22-all, but Caddo Mills scored two of the final three points to claim the win in the second set.
Paris completely turned the tide of the match around in the third set. Lewis, Chapman, and junior outside hitter Macey McAmis fueled a Lady ’Cat surge that saw the lead grow to 20-13 and forced a timeout call from Caddo Mills. Kills from Gibbons, Chapman, and Lewis in succession ended the 11-point triumph in the third set for Paris. The home team closed out the match with a dominant 25-9 win in the fourth set, and McAmis’ kill ended the match and a 5-0 scoring run for Paris to close it out.
McAmis led the way with 12 kills, 15 digs, and 5 aces, while Lewis added 10 kills, 18 assists, 15 digs, and 2 blocks. Vogt tallied a kill along with 21 assists and 10 digs, while Chapman had 8 kills and 2 digs. Gibbons registered 6 kills, 6 blocks, 1 assist, and 1 dig, while Reece Reavis anchored the defense with 3 kills and 19 digs. Hill contributed with 1 kill and 9 digs, while Ava Tidwell finished with 1 kill and 1 dig.
As Paris’ season rolls on, Green wants to see her players continue to grow and become more unified in every aspect of the game.
“I teach them in practice that I am not on the court of play, and I can tell you where to go, but you have to be a smart player to be able to adjust,” Green said. “Finding those holes on the front line and relying on your back row to communicate is key. I don’t mind helping them, but they need to be the ones running the show because they’re the ones playing. I think doing it in practice helps them be more game ready, which is big for us.”
Paris plays again at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Emory Rains.