Tough Loss

The Lady Kats were defeated Tuesday night by the Rice Owls in a dramatic five-game match at Johnson Coliseum.In game one, the Kats jumped out to an early 8-3 lead, and took the game by a final score of 30-25. In game two, the Owls came charging back, winning by a score of 30-24. Assistant Coach Traci Benedele discussed game two as an important one for the entire match.”I think basically, the team just kind of let down, got settled in, instead of staying aggressive and taking it to them,” she said. “We shifted down a gear and didn’t stay on top like we should have. We kind of took it for granted.”Coach Brenda Gray echoed Bendele’s words. “I thought game one, we played good. I thought game two, we were not intense,” she said.”We went into the locker room and told them, ‘Hey, you’re going to have to play a little better.’ I told them they have to play as hard as you can every time you step on the court,” Gray said. The Lady Kats took that talk to heart, and came out on top of game three, 30-28. However, going into game four, the Owls pulled out their secret weapon, Rebeca Pazo. The sophomore from Caracas, Venezuela, pounded 15 kills in two games, leading the Owls into their first win of the season.”We couldn’t stop her,” Gray said. “When you have a kid like that on your team, you have her out there. Hats off to her because she flat out put it to us. If they don’t sub her in, we bingo; that’s exactly what I think.”Though the Owls finished with a 15-9 victory, Gray continued her positive outlook for the team and the season. “I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but I’m not upset at the effort at all,” she said. “I’m upset at the effort in game two, but the rest, no. We fought. Holy cow, it was 8-2 when we switched sides (game five) and we never gave up, so that’s a plus. We played a hell of a match; we just came out on that end of it. Nobody wants to be a loser, but we took it to five and we learned some things tonight and we’re going to get better.”Gray’s positive outlook is definitely warranted due to her talented roster. Junior Carrie Sartain was chosen as the Southland Conference “Offensive Player of the Week” for her performance at last weekend’s Sam Houston Invitational Tournament. Sartain, along with sophomore Karlee Butler, were both chosen as all-tournament players. The Lady Kats will travel to Hartford, Conn., on Thursday for the Hartford Fall Invitational Tournament. They will face Auburn at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6.

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