Lady Panthers

Carson Glenn (16) dives for a loose ball during the Lady Panthers' 3-1 (25-17, 25-11, 22-25, 25-11) home victory over Leander on Tuesday night.

Everything was going smoothly for the Lady Panthers in their home district match against Leander on Tuesday night, cruising to victory in the opening two sets and poised to sweep the Lions back down Bagdad.

But, in the third set, the visitors decided they hadn't yet seen enough of their surroundings and decided to make it a match by prevailing to cut the home side's advantage in half.

However, Liberty Hill recovered the momentum they had in the first two sets in the fourth and triumphed by a score of 3-1 (25-17, 25-11, 22-25, 25-11).

Lady Panthers head coach Marie Bruce attributed her squad's third-set malaise to a false sense of security.

“In the third set, we got a little too comfortable,” she said. “We made a lot of errors and got away from our game plan. After that, we got back to what we were doing in the first and second sets.”

But, before Liberty Hill could regain its earlier form, Leander began the fourth set just as it had ended the previous in winning the first two points of the stanza.

But, back-to-back kills by Carson Glenn and Gigi Mason quelled the Lions' uprising and after taking the lead at 5-4 on a Taylor Gaines winner, the Purple-and-Gold wouldn't trail the rest of the way.

Mason came out strong at the match's outset, hammering five kills in the first set after the Lady Panthers jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead. Kealy Dirner served a pair of aces in the set, while Morgan Poulain provided proper resistance at the net with two blocks.

The Lady Panthers' 6-foot-2 middle blocker continued her outburst in the second set with four kills and another pair of blocks and when Keegan Walton served an ace to close out the set, Liberty Hill had a 2-0 set lead.

But, things began to unravel a bit in the third, as the home side fell behind by as much as 16-5 before battling back to make it close, but to no avail, despite four kills from Annie Witt in the process.

Mason led the Lady Panthers with 13 kills in the win, while fellow outside hitter Dirner collected 10 on the match.

Leander entered the proceedings with only a 1-2 record in district play, but its determined play was an example of what life is like once the league schedule gets going, said Bruce.

“You take anyone for granted in our district,” she said. “Everyone is willing to fight and there's still a lot of district left, so anyone can get one of the four playoff spots.”

Liberty Hill (29-7, 4-0) remains tied atop the district standings with Rouse (26-8, 4-0), who the Lady Panthers will face for the first time this season on Friday night.

Coming off a five-set road victory over Cedar Park last Friday, Bruce expects more of the same against the Raiders.

“We're going to get a good match from them,” said Bruce. “But, anytime you play teams that make you earn your wins, it's good.”