TYLER — If big players step up in big situations, the Carthage Lady Bulldogs have plenty of players to chose from.
And they all got their chances to shine Monday night in Wagstaff Gym.
Cami Hicks, Faith Kruebbe and McKenna Zett combined for 27 kills, while Kristen Stewart added 25 assists and four kills of her own as the No. 4 Lady Dawgs opened bi-district playoff action with 3-0 win over the Palestine Ladycats.
Carthage won 25-12, 25-18, 25-11 to add to their school record-setting victory total of 37-4, while the Ladycats finish the season at 13-25.
The Lady Dawgs are tentatively set to play Gatesville Thursday in Fairfield in the Area Round game.
“We’re excited to get the win,” Carthage Coach Dawn Stewart said. “The defense was very good, and we’re never going to give up on plays. I also thought we served very well.
“Our hitters struggled a little, but Cami came up with some monster kills and Faith came up big on the other side.”
The first set was tied 4-4 before the Lady Dawgs started pulling away to go up 14-6. Consecutive blocks helped Carthage go up 20-9, and Kruebbe and Zett each had a kill late to finish off the win.
The Ladycats wouldn’t go away in the second set, never letting the Lady Dawgs pull away. But even making several unforced errors, Carthage still won going away.
“We were able to try some new things defensively that can help us out later on in our playoff run,” the coach said. “We know what we can do a lot of things when we’re serving. But we need a faster start when we don’t have the ball. We have to find a way not to dig too big of a hole for ourselves.”
Carthage basically had its way in the third set, turning a 6-4 lead into a 19-7 advantage. The strong start continued and Hicks ended the contest with one of her six blocks.
Hicks finished the night with 10 kills to go along with the blocks, while Kruebbe had nine kills, three aces, two blocks and 12 digs and Zett had eight kills and eight digs.
Stewart also had 12 digs and three blocks, Makhai Lewis had four blocks and three kills, Chesney Baker had 13 digs and Addison Surratt had nine digs and three aces.