TOM BEAN — In the early stages of a season, the buzzwords can fly around as often as the volleyballs around the net. Whatever path a team is going to take may not be evident right away.For the Lady Tomcats, it took them some time to find their buzzword — some consistency.
"We’ve really put in a lot of consistency-based drills," Tom Bean head coach Dene Adams said. "We’ve changed time limits in which things have to be done. We’ve done the things we need to be better.
"The leadership on this team is irreplaceable. They’ve taken ownership of this team. They want people to talk and remember what it was like to have played them, whether as a team or an individual performance."
The Lady Tomcats have put those words into practive latel and are riding a seven-match winning streak after beating Collinsville, 25-12, 25-10, 25-21, in District 16-2A action.
Chloe Farrer had 11 kills, 24 digs and five aces, Emma Lowing put down eight kills, Kaitlyn Lind totaled five kills, eight blocks and four digs, Raylynn Adams handed out 27 assists to go with nine digs, three kills and three aces, Laramie Worley finished with six kills and 12 digs, Kyndle Selman chipped in four kills, six digs and three aces and Morgan Stroud and Delaney Hemming collected 12 digs for Tom Bean (9-4, 3-0), which plays at Sam Rayburn on Friday afternoon.
Abby Martin, Katie Johnson, Addisyn McDonnell and Taylor Sheppard led the way for Collinsville (4-9, 1-2), which hosts Tioga on Friday afternoon.
As the district schedule is about to hit the third week of action, Tom Bean is one of three teams still undefeated in the standings, along with Tioga and Wolfe City. Collinsville is now tied with Sam Rayburn for fourth place but there are still plenty of matches left — 11 to be exact — until the playoffs begin.
"Every game is going to be a battle. You have to know that going in," Adams said. "It’s going to be tough every night. Especially this season. You really have to capitalize when you can."
Collinsville nearly extended the match with its effort in Game 3. When the Lady Tomcats scored five consecutive points to take a 7-3 lead, the Lady Pirates followed with five straight of their own, highlighted by kills from Martin and McDonnell to take the lead in the frame for the first time at 8-7.
It would stay close essentially the rest of the way with no gap wider than three until the final four points. Collinsville had several small leads, including at 19-17 and 20-19 — which was the last time it was in front.
A hitting error on the ensuing point started a string of four points by Tom Bean, propelled by an Adams block. McDonnell had a kill but Collinsville had a block attempt go wide and then Lind slammed down a 50-50 ball to close out the sweep and keep the Lady Tomcats from Game 4.
"They have fight. You have to fight your way back and they like that challenge," Adams said. "Sometimes it gives me a heart attack. I enjoyed the first two games much better."
The Lady Tomcats notched six of the first seven points in Game 2 but Collinsville was able to claw within three at 7-4. That’s when Farrer and Adams spearheaded a 7-0 run which widened Tom Bean’s lead to double digits for the first time. The Lady Pirates responded with a push and were within eight when Lind led the charge during another 7-0 stretch that gave the home team a 23-9 advantage. Adams’ ace moments later clinched a 2-0 lead.
Tom Bean jumped out to a quick 3-1 advantage to begin the match but the two sides traded several points with the scored last being tied at seven.
From that point the Lady Tomcats dominated the rest of the frame. Farrer had consecutive aces as part of a 4-0 burst and led to a timeout from the Lady Pirates. Collinsville was down just three points at 12-9 when Selman stepped to the service line and Tom Bean produced a 12-0 surge that broke things open with the capper of the overall 17-2 run being a kill from Worley that put the Lady Cats one point away from clinching Game 1, which came four points later on a kill from Lowing.