After being pushed to the limit in two of their three previous matches, including a revenge win on Friday, the Sherman Lady Bearcats needed a win like this.
The early struggles that come with new faces and a new coach can take their toll on a team. And with district play right around the corner, there would be no better time for things to start clicking.
“We’ve brought our game up. We’ve come to play,” Sherman head coach Chelsea Beal said. “Our mentality has changed. Way more aggressive. A lot more confident in our serving.”
The Lady Bearcats have shown off their improvement over the past month and snagged their second straight victory with a 25-6, 25-17, 25-16 sweep over Gainesville in non-district action at Bearcat Gymnasium.
Kylie Jackman had 12 kills, five digs and three blocks, Avery Charske chipped in eight kills and eight digs, Ryan Dobbs totaled three kills, three aces and two blocks, Jenica Fielder finished with 16 assists, Samantha Graham handed out 15 assists to go with five kills and a pair of aces and Jazmyne Aguilar collected seven digs for Sherman (5-22), which plays at Celina on Friday.
The Lady Cats will then face Gunter and Denton Ryan before open District 10-5A action and seeking a third straight playoff appearance.
“Everything we’re doing right now is to prepare for district,” Beal said. “Everything matters and how we react matters.”
Sherman will go for three wins in a row after getting headed in the right direction with its five-game victory over Braswell on Friday. The teams traded frames, with Sherman losing the fourth 28-26 before pulling out Game 5, 15-11.
“The Braswell game is the most proud of them I’ve been,” Beal said. “We lost to them pretty bad in a tournament. The girls could have gone in and not played well. We went to their house and were able to come out of there with a win.”
Things were not nearly as dramatic against Gainesville. Only the second game had anything close to that in a match that was over in an hour.
“We’ve had to fight things out and tonight we were able to have some high-level play,” Beal said. “We were able to focus on us.”
After the Lady Leopards fell behind 7-0 and were down 8-1, Yasmine Peralta led an 8-0 run that put Gainesville in front for the first time in the match. Both sides traded points but the Lady Leopards were able to get their margin up to four twice, the last at 17-13 on a kill by Alliayah Henry.
At that point Sherman forced a sideout, Aguilar stepped to the service line and she never left until her ace ended the game with a 12-0 run. Jackman was the focal point of the offense in that stretch and the Lady Cats avoided turning Game 3 into a pivotal contest.
Gainesville showed some fight in the third game in an attempt to keep the match alive but its early advantage at 3-2 was the final time the Lady Leopards held the lead.
With the score tied at four, Sherman executed a 9-0 burst fueled on a couple of aces by Dobbs to go with efforts at the net by Charske and Savanna Hall. Gainesville cut the deficit back to seven before kills by Nikki Jackman, Charske and Hall returned it to double-digits and Sherman finished off the sweep with a cushion the rest of the way.
Game 1 was close in the opening stages. The score was tied at two and the Lady Bearcats held a 7-4 lead after a block by Peralta. From that point on it was all Sherman, which gave up just two points the rest of the stanza — a service error and a kill from Isabella Perez.
The Lady Bearcats reeled off nine consecutive points on the back end of a 15-1 surge with Graham and Charske doing the heavy lifting for a comfortable 22-5 advantage.