Volleyball: Dawson tops Friendswood for first place
Dawson earned a share of the District 24-5A title Tuesday with a 25-22, 25-23, 27-25 victory over Friendswood.
The two coaches flipped for playoff seeding after the contest. The Eagles won that as well and will go in as the first place team.
A noisy crowd filled the Dawson gym and created a playoff atmosphere for Tuesday's contest. They witnessed a well-played match that was close throughout.
The Eagles managed the sweep by coming on strong at the end of the first two sets and surviving a frantic finish in the third.
"Mental toughness is huge," Dawson coach Lori McLaughlin said. "If we make a mistake, we have to shake it off and not wear it on our faces. We have to answer back positive, with as much aggression as we can."
The Eagles came at Friendswood with a twin-cannon offense led by Yewande Akanbi and Camryn Kazmierski, who finished with 20 and 13 kills, respectively.
Dawson added in tough defense that often put Friendswood on the defensive.
"I don't think we blocked very well," Mustang coach Jerry Linch said. "When you're not blocking well, it's tough to play defense. The best you can do is something out of system. You can't do that against a good defensive team."
Friendwood managed to move the ball around well and created multiple options. Jill Bergeson led the offense with 16 kills, while Jasmine Casey added 11.
Dawson responded by getting a lot of touches at the net and taking the lines and corners away on most plays.
The defensive strategy was an adjustment made after the Eagles' five-set loss to the Mustangs in their first-round match on Oct. 1.
"We had to change our defense and make the big plays," McLaughlin said. "We weren't doing our job at the net or on the back row (in the first match). The girls had to step in and do their job, and they did."
Friendswood refused to go down easy at the end of the third set, fight off three match points before Dawson was able to score the final two points of the night."
"We were pretty resilient in set three," Linch said. "We crawled back into it and played some great defense at the end of the match. That's the effort I need to see from them going into the playoffs."
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