Wednesday’s KJCCC opener left the Labette Cardinals still sitting without a win on the 2019 season while the Allen Red Devils won its first conference match since 2015. 

In Parsons, a resurgent Allen club swept Labette 3-0 (25-13, 25-23, 25-15) in the Cardinals’ home opener.

“We weren’t making smart choices,” Labette head coach Haley Miller said. “We just wanted to swing on everything. Our feet weren’t to the ball. We were hoping if they swung high enough, there’d be a touch. Just nothing was clicking.” 

Labette struggled offensively throughout the match, committing more hitting errors (27) than kills (24) for a negative hitting percentage.

“There were too many errors that first set,” Miller said. “We had 21 errors in a match to 25. That’s not going to win you any games. We did a better job controlling the errors in the second sets. But we’ve got to find that desire to compete and be better.” 

Labette was paced in kills by Alexis Kapales, who had seven on the night. But her outing mirrored that of the Cardinals as she had nine errors to go along with 10 digs.

“She’s our momentum kid, and her momentum wasn’t on the high end tonight,” Miller said. “That wore on everybody else as a whole. We rely on her, one of our main outside hitters, to put the ball away and she struggled with that.” 

Zhanisha Tounsel added five kills for Labette, Katelynn Wissman had four while Hannah Casteel and Lainee Gulledge each notched three.

Wissman also paced the Cardinals with two blocks. Tessa Newman led with 18 digs with Casteel adding 10, while Ania Howard pitched in 11 assists with Hannah Spriggs adding 10.

As for Allen, Sammi Alexander and Brittney Eskridge each led with eight kills. Adriana Santiago added seven kills for the Red Devils, while Aricah McCall had five.

Laia Jaca led Allen with 27 of her team’s 33 assists, Alejandra Handie had six solo blocks while Jaco also had a team-high 15 digs.

The win for Allen was the first victory in a KJCCC match since 2015, breaking a three-season slump.

“(Allen head coach Whitney Shaw) went out and recruited her butt off to bring in kids that can do something,” Miller said. “Currently, we’re not at that level to bring in impact players. We’ve got to have more time and energy under our belt.” 

Labette dropped to 0-6 overall with the loss and 0-1 in KJCCC play, while Allen improved to 7-3 and 1-0 respectively. The Cardinals resume play on Sept. 11 with a trip to Seminole State in Oklahoma.

“We have morning practice and we’ll probably take a step back there and not even bring the balls out,” Miller said. “We’ve got to focus on the fundamentals and the basics and see what we can do from there. We have a week to figure things out.” 

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