PASADENA — Unforced errors and miscommunication were Sweeny’s downfall as it made an early exit from the Class 4A, Region III volleyball playoffs.
Splendora was able to capitalize on the Lady Bulldogs’ mistakes and seldom trailed in the area round match as the Lady Cats swept, 25-15, 25-19, 25-18.
“It’s unfortunate. I feel like we could have beat them, but we beat ourselves more than they beat us,” Sweeny head coach Evaree Ray said. “I’m glad they fought back and never gave up throughout the match.”
Sweeny won the first two points of the match, but once the Lady Cats tied the first set 3-3, a pair of senior Morgan Buford aces got Splendora on a roll. Multiple mishits by the Lady Bulldogs kept them from being able to put up a consistent rally and the Lady Cats pulled away.
The second set started the same for Sweeny with a 2-0 lead before unforced errors again saw the tide turn. The Lady Cats pulled ahead 19-10 before the Lady Bulldogs battled back to within 24-19, but a Shaelyn Sanders kill ended the comeback effort and put Splendora up 2-0.
“We have been focused on our blocking and pushing the ball over the net, and I feel we did a really good job doing that,” Splendora head volleyball coach DaVette McCall said. “We practiced serving hard and we found the spots where the holes were.”
The Lady Bulldogs played better in the third set, getting two kills and a block from junior Adell Alford and a block and a kill by sophomore Bri Berry, but they couldn’t keep up with the Lady Cats in the end. Splendora junior Katie Browski ended the match with a block.
“I think once they realized we could hang with them, I think they got out of their own way and started playing for each other more than themselves,” Ray said. “I told them before the game we needed to play with discipline, execution and determination, and when we were able to fight back, that’s what we saw.”
Sweeny senior Megan Kessler had four kills, two aces and a block for the match.
The Lady Bulldogs ended their season with a 22-18 record.
Columbia plays tight
Emotions were too high for Columbia as their hopes of advancing to the regional playoff fell through.
The Columbia Lady Roughnecks lost to the Huffman-Hargrave Lady Falcons in straight sets, 25-7, 25-9, 25-18, to see their playoff run end in the Class 4A Region III area round.
“We didn’t play our best game of the night, but the girls battled tonight and that’s all I can ask for,” Columbia head volleyball coach Katy Wagner said. “They were trying too hard, and that’s something we talked about in every huddle we had.”
The first set went about as wrong as the Lady ’Necks could have imagined, falling behind 8-1 after a block and kill by Lady Falcon Laynee Beam and never getting back in it. Columbia’s ball placement was off for most of the set, which ended with a Chaney Chiasson kill.
“We just always try to stay in our game plan and in our system,” Hargrave head volleyball coach Tammy White said. “We always want to keep the tempo up no matter who we’re playing against.”
In the second set, it was critical the Lady Roughnecks came out stronger, but the pressure the Lady Falcons put on them with good defense and an overpowering offense led the Lady ’Necks into more mistakes. Unable to gather themselves, the Lady ’Necks called a timeout but couldn’t recover from a 19-7 deficit.
Columbia played its best in the third set, battling the Lady Falcons throughout, but came up short.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” White said. “They blew my expectations away, and Huffman is a great team. It’s always a sad part of the season because it’s the last game of the season.”
Columbia freshman Kate Kondra had two blocks and a kill in the match. Senior Caroline Reese had a block and two kills as the Lady ’Necks finish the year at 23-16.