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Demopolis downs Linden in Martin’s debut

The Lady Tigers (1-0) picked up a straight games win in new head coach Blythe Martin’s Demopolis debut Monday, downing Linden 25-14, 25-22 and 25-18. The match served as the first of the season for both teams and the first in school history for Linden.

“I think we did pretty good,” Linden head coach Teressa Thomas, who is learning the game of volleyball along with her team, said. “I think we have a lot of learning and correcting to do.”

The Lady Patriots put together a handful of runs in the match, none more impressive than a second game stretch in which they led by as many as eight over the homestanding Lady Tigers.

“I was impressed,” Martin said of the Lady Pats first effort. “they were a good team to play. The definitely showed my girls some competition. They never got tired. In the next few years, they’re going to be a team to beat.”

Demopolis controlled the first game from the outset, distancing itself when Janiya Davis dropped in four consecutive aces. Riley King’s consistency helped close the game out as the team managed to score five straight points while she was serving.

In the second game, the Lady Tigers struggled early as Linden charged out to a quick advantage.

“I don’t know if it was conditioning or if they thought they could just ease up a little bit after winning the first game,” Martin said of her team’s lack of effectiveness early in the second match.

Demopolis put together its come-from-behind rally on Keona Branch’s service strength. The Lady Tigers scored eight in a row while Branch was sniping from beyond the baseline. Sydney Andrews served the game-winner for the Lady Tigers, sending them to a 2-0 lead in the match.

Demopolis assumed the advantage early on in the third match as Branch again had her serve working. The Lady Tigers scored six straight behind her service and led 7-1 before Linden finally got itself in the game.

“Keona Branch proved (Monday night) that she is someone the team can count on,” Martin said.

The match also featured a handful of highlight plays from Kierra Carter, who made a sliding save out of bounds near the net that kept a rally alive.

“That’s the kind of effort I want to pull out of everybody because until the official blows the whistle, the play has not stopped,” Martin said. “Kierra realized what it took to make the play.”

Martin said the game served to help her team realize what it needs to improve upon as it moves forward with a schedule that resumes Thursday in Greensboro at 5 p.m.

“For our first game, we did well,” She said. “But I definitely found the things we need to work on, such as our serving, aggressiveness at the net and backing up the front row.”