|TOO MUCH FRANCIS FOR LADY BUCCS..
The Lady Buccs dropped their season opener in three straight games to Amanda Fracis and Fairlawn.
AUGUST 27, 2007 - COVINGTON
The Covington Lady Buccs volleyball team is all too familiar with Fairlawn's Amanda Francis. She's the same Francis who gave the Lady Buccs fits in the sectional finals a year ago, ending Covington's season of high expectations.
A year older and a year better, Francis gave Covington fits once again in the season opener, leading Fairlawn to a 3 games to 0 victory on the Lady Buccs' home floor.
"Amanda ate us up," said first-year Covington coach Jim Smith. "She's played against some of the best volleyball players in the country, so we knew she was good. We even tried cheating toward her because they weren't setting to the inside, but we still couldn't stop her."
Covington did have its moments throughout the match, however.
The Lady Buccs battled back from a 2-7 deficit to take a 10-8 lead in the third game, but was never able to hold on to force a fourth game.
"The girls started executing some of the adjustments we were making in the third game," Smith said. "We were able to get the ball to our middle hitters and Fairlawn had a hard time stopping our middles all night. But we weren't able to do that on a consistent basis."
Covington also had some success in the second game as it built a 4-2 lead.
After Fairlawn tied the score at 5-5, Francis served four straight aces and two more points to put the Lady Jets on top 11-5.
Covington tried gallantly to chip into the lead and eventually scored five straight point to close the gap to 17-23.
But Fairlawn closed out the second game with a 25-18 win to take a 2 games to 0 lead.
"We were so slow defensively," Smith explained. "Our back row played like they were hot and tired. Our serve receive and passing wasn't very good and that's why we couldn't get the ball to our middles (middle hitters)."
With inexperienced players at the varsity level in the lineup, Smith has something to build on after his team showed grit and determination in the third game. They never gave up and played Fairlawn point-for-point until the Lady Jets extended a 23-21 lead into a 25-21 victory.
"The kids showed character in the third game," Smith said. "A lot of the girls haven't really had a lot of varsity experience, so it was encouraging to see them play hard in the third game. We can build on this."
Covington will look to get into the win column on Thursday as it hosts Franklin Monroe.
But on this night it was too much Francis.
Holly Tobias - 5 kills, 3 blocks
Erin Christian - 6 digs
Alyssa Angle - 16 assists
Shelby Hoblit - 2 aces