MIDLOTHIAN — The Lady Panthers fell to Lake Highlands High School on Tuesday night at Midlothian High School Arena without injured 5-foot-11 senior middle blocker Regan Deese, but youth, time and talent are on their side.

"The girls did a good job at getting out of serve receive without going into so many point slides, however, we did not take care of the ball in rally play," MHS head coach Mary Malone said about valuable lessons her girls are learning before their district schedule. "They had several dynamic plays that were quite memorable but lost too many rally points. Though the serve-receive ratio is much improved, they need to revisit the blocking game and game management strategies to be a more efficient team."

Though the team won the first set 25-21 against the Lady Highlanders, MHS lost back-to-back sets to lose their 7th match in the last nine games and fall to a 9-8 overall season record. The Lady Panthers lost sets two, three and four 18-25, 20-25 and 24-26.

It's also the fifth time in the last nine games a resilient Lady Panthers team has forced extra sets. During 16 losing sets against Lamar, Aledo, Kennedale, Denton Ryan, Frisco, Dumas and Lake Highlands High Schools, the MHS margin of defeat was less than eight points.

The Lady Panthers lost despite strong performances by Kamryn Owen (48 assists), Sidney Little (23 kills), Samantha Rodgers (10 kills)

Emalee Lowe (27 digs) and Kelby Buchanan (22 digs). Collectively, the five girls have accounted for 35 aces during the last nine games.

Little has posted 112 total kills, 13 blocks and 91 digs and six aces in the same time frame.

"Sydney was our wind tonight," Malone said. "She was clutch and made points when we needed them. We will focus on our defense and rally play mental endurance and decision-making in these next two days of practice and regroup and enter Euless with new purpose."

The Lady Panthers will face Irving, and Haltom High Schools during the Euless Trinity Double T Tournament. MHS is scheduled to play Irving at 12:45 p.m., Duncanville at 4:30 p.m. and Haltom at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Euless Trinity High School Gymnasium.

Marcus is the sports editor for both the Waxahachie Daily light and Midlothian Mirror. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI. Contact the sports desk at 469-517-1454 and on Twitter by using #WDLsports and #MirrorSportsNB in tweets!