Lady Panthers fall to Caldwell 3-2


By Anthony Flores
Staff Writer

Rockdale – The Liberty Hill Lady Panthers fell to the Caldwell Hornets 3-2 sets in a tightly contested second-round playoff matchup Friday, ending their 2019 campaign.
The Lady Panthers jumped out to an early lead, scoring the first two points of the night, but Caldwell didn’t wait long before answering back, scoring four unanswered points and stealing back the lead.
The Hornets extended the lead, going up 9-7 before the Panthers closed the gap, tying the set 9-9.
Down by six points, the Panthers continued to fight, scoring three consecutive points to keep things close.
Both teams continued to trade blows, but the Hornets walked away with the first set after a last-minute offensive flurry.
Caldwell continued to hold the momentum, going up 5-0 in the beginning of the second set.
After allowing five unanswered points, Liberty Hill scored five consecutive, cutting the lead to 9-5. The Panthers tied the set at 14-14 following the short break.
It was at the end of the second set when the Panthers took the lead, holding on to secure the set 25-23.
Heading into the third set tied 1-1, Caldwell scored first, jumping out to a 4-2 lead to open.
After falling behind by as many as five points, Liberty Hill took the lead, making it 15-14 midway through the set.
The evenly contested set saw several lead changes before the Hornets earned the set-winning point.
Timely play from each side kept things tight, with neither team managing to build a large lead. 
As the fourth set reached its end, the Panthers and Hornets continued to trade leads, but it was the Panthers who finally broke free, taking the fourth set 25-20.
Tied at two sets apiece, the fifth and final set opened with a quick score from the Hornets.
Caldwell, as in previous sets, jumped out to an early lead. With just five points left to score for the win, the Hornets led 10-7.
As the final moments of the game wore on, Liberty Hill cut the lead, tying it 13-13.
Despite their best efforts, Liberty Hill couldn’t close the gap, dropping the final set to the Hornets 25-23.
Taking a positive perspective in a disappointing loss, head coach Gretchen Peterson viewed the loss as an opportunity.
“We have a young sophomore class, there’s five sophomores on this team,” said Peterson. “This stinks but man this is a great learning opportunity. We’re going to reflect on it, we’re going to learn from it. We’re going to get back up, we’ll pick ourselves up.