WHITEHOUSE — The playoffs can be a cold and merciless time, especially since it oftentimes is one and done.
And that's what happened on Monday as the Carthage High School volleyball team swept Palestine in a Conference 4A-Region III bi-district match at C.L. Nix Wildcat Arena.
The Lady Dawgs beat the LadyCats by scores of 25-19, 25-10, 25-11, eliminating Palestine from the postseason.
Palestine finished the season with a 15-22 record, and the squad will lose seniors Destiny Mathews, Amirah Wyse, Ja'Bria Simmons and Chanylla Gibson to graduation. This marks the second straight season the LadyCats were knocked out in the opening round.
Meanwhile, Carthage (28-7) faces China Spring at 7 p.m. on Thursday at North Forney High School for area. The Lady Dawgs entered the match ranked 16th in the Texas Girls Coaches Association Conference 4A poll.
Palestine played very well in the opening set, jumping out to a 12-9 lead before Carthage began climbing back into it. The set was tied at 12-, 13 and 14-all before the Lady Dawgs forged ahead.
“They came out with a lot of energy, and they served well early,” said Carthage head coach Dawn Stewart, in her first year leading the Lady Dawgs. “We were a little nervous. We just had to settle down.”
Katie Litynesky served an ace and teammate Ke'Ondra White pounded a kill to keep Palestine close. However, two straight kills from Dede Pope gave Carthage Game One, 25-19.
Palestine head coach Janae Evans called a pair of timeouts early in the second set; however, that couldn't stem the tide as Carthage rolled to a 15-6 lead.
While Palestine committed hitting errors, the Lady Dawgs were efficient. McKenna Zett finished off the set with a kill — while teammate Addison Blissett served on the same point.
Palestine and Carthage were knotted at 3- and 4-all in the third set before Carthage once again assumed control.
The LadyCats trimmed the Lady Dawgs' lead to 15-11, but that's as close as they would get the rest of the way. Palestine cheerleaders were pleased when Evans inserted Gibson into the lineup, and she received five Carthage serves late in the offing.
“Our servers found spots, and we tried to keep them from getting on offense,” Stewart added.
“They found some weak areas in our serve receive, they had success with that,” she said. “That affected us running our offense in the second and the third set.”
Evans said Carthage also moved the ball around well at the net, which helped the Lady Dawgs triumph.
Since the LadyCats were on the defensive most of the match, Shayla Arthur, Ka'Zem Wood and Mathews were limited to five kills each. Palestine had a .250 attack percentage, but it didn't generate enough hits (only 21 total kills for the entire match).
Arthur and Simmons had two total blocks apiece.Wood added five digs and seven assists.
Litynesky, one of Palestine's two setters in its 6-2 offense, dished off a team-high 10 assists.