Courtesy photo: Copperas Cove ISD
Courtesy photo: Copperas Cove ISD

AUSTIN – The Copperas Cove volleyball team placed fifth at the Austin ISD Jason Landers Invitational Tournament over the weekend, only losing to the eventual champion, and host team Austin Bowie, in the first round of the Gold Bracket on Saturday.

The Lady Dawgs started day one of the tournament on Thursday rolling to three straight wins in pool play defeating Round Rock Stony Point 2-0 (25-16, 25-21), Austin Eastside 2-0 (25-2, 25-1) and Austin Travis 2-0 (25-4, 25-5) at Burger Center.

“These weren’t really tough games today, but they could have been tough if we didn’t do what we needed to do,” Lady Dawgs head coach Cari Lowery said. “We got to to work on some things and run some plays, so it was a good first day of the tournament for us.”

On Friday, the Lady Dawgs defeated Robinson 2-0 (25-20, 25-21), Georgetown East View 2-0 (25-7, 25-13) and Liberty Hill 2-1 (25-17, 19-25, 25-17) in the second day of pool play at Akins High School.

“Really good day for us, we started out a little rocky this morning, but game two against Georgetown East View, that was a great match, the girls played really good and really dominated that game,” Lowery said.

The toughest game on the second day was against Liberty Hill, the fourth-ranked team in Class 4A.

“Liberty Hill is always a quality program, they’re always in the playoffs, they’re always tough competition,” Lowery said on the win. “I was very proud of my young team, that they hung in there and they came back and didn’t quit.”

After the win, the Lady Dawgs remained undefeated on the young season at 8-0.

“Undefeated always feels good when you’re playing good teams and beating them,” Lowery said. “You can be undefeated if you schedule right, but if you schedule tough and you’re still winning, that’s an even better sign for us for down the road when it counts.”

Lowery also had high praise for her young team coming together so early in the season.

“They’re learning how to work together and we’re still tweaking some things,” she said. “Sophomore Chyanne Chapman is getting better by the minute and Savannah Cook had really good line swing right here. They’re seeing the court better, they’re talking to each other better and they’re just really focused.”

Copperas Cove received the top seed in the championship bracket on the the third and final day of the tournament playing against the host team, Austin Bowie, losing 2-0 (25-19, 25-17) on Saturday.

“We had third day fatigue set in today, we played tired and that got us this morning,” Lowery said. “But, honestly if you got to lose a game, it doesn’t hurt to lose a game this time of year.”

“When you have a young team, they need to know that they can be beat and they have to play every game. If we learn something from that, then that was a good loss this morning,” Lowery added.

The Lady Dawgs bounced back to defeat Poth 2-1 (22-25, 25-10, 25-10).

“I thought we played better as the day progressed,” Lowery said. “We’re going to have to learn to get off the bus after two hours and step up and play first thing, because none of our games this tournament, the first game of the day had been very good games for us.”

The win put Copperas Cove against a team they had beaten a day earlier, Liberty Hill. The Lady Dawgs defeated the Lady Panthers 2-0 (25-17, 25-16) to take fifth place in the tournament.

“It feels good to beat a good team like Liberty Hill, anytime, because we traditionally struggle with Liberty Hill,” Lowery said on the win. “I think you can see fatigue with both teams in the last game, We didn’t let our fatigue take over and they kind of did. I was pleased that we stayed focused, stayed intense and kept after it.”

Seniors Mikayla Blount and Lexi Perez were named to the all-tournament team and Copperas Cove finished the tournament 8-1 and 10-1 overall to start the season.

“We learned some stuff, I saw some new people step into some spots and they did a good job so it was good experience we went 8-1, you can’t complain about that,” Lowery said.

Lowery was proud of her young team’s performance so far this season..

“Chyanne Chapman is getting better every minute she is on the floor, really pleased about that. I think Megan Diaz, a new varsity member, a junior, and she’s doing a better job. I think Katy Ranes stepped up on the right side for us today. The key is to get them all meshing at the same time and clicking at the right time and it’s all there,” she said.

Next game for the Lady Dawgs is at Round Rock Stony Point on Tuesday.