VOLLEYBALL: The Lady Highlanders advance to the Regional Semis
BRENHAM, Texas — The returning, two-time state champs, The Woodlands Lady Highlanders (34-5) continued their quest for a third state championship in three years at Brenham High School against the Lady Cavaliers of Lake Travis (26-15) on Tuesday night. The reigning champs defeated Lake Travis in three sets, 25-18, 25-23, 25-12.
Lake Travis got set 1 started with the first kill of the match. With the next ball, senior middle blocker, Hannah Hickman answered right back with a kill of her own, tying the game 1-1. Sophomore Ally Hayden, who started at outside hitter for the injured Haley Reier, started making contributions as soon as she was subbed into the front row.
“Ally was ready to step up,” Head Coach Terri Wade said after the game. “She gets to play there everyday in practice so it’s not like it was a new position for her. Like I said before to the girls, it’s going to be different not having your senior’s presence on the court. But it wasn’t anything different or any situation they hadn’t been in.”
The Lady Highlanders began to pull away and with the score 9-5, Lake Travis head coach, Brandace Boren, called a timeout. The timeout seemed to work in slowing the Lady Highlander’s momentum after they hit the next ball out of bounds. But then Lake Travis would commit their own hitting error. The speed of The Woodlands offense repeatedly faked out Lake Travis’s block, giving the Lady Highlander’s hitters an open net. The open net really worked in sophomore middle blocker, AJ Keole’s advantage.
“I felt like there was just a lot of open court for AJ tonight. She could see every hole, all she had to do was go in hard swinging and it was a put away,” said Coach Wade.
Set 1 ended 25-18 after a kill from senior outside hitter, Bella Pinton.
Set 2 began with Junior libero, Mia Primavera serving the first 5 points. Lake Travis quickly called both their timeouts in the beginning of the set, after being down 4-0 and 7-1. It looked like the second set was all The Woodlands after numerous Lake Travis errors. Lake Travis had many opportunities to get points but the Lady Highlander defense kept the ball up, putting the pressure on the Lady Cavaliers’ offense, causing them to make errors.
“Our defense was amazing tonight,” Coach Wade said after the game. ”Everyone remembers the offense but we we wouldn’t have had the offense without the defense, without our defensive players stepping up and just going all out.
Despite getting out to a commanding lead, The Woodlands began committing errors of their own. Lake Travis fought off five set points to bring the score to 24-23 before senior Grey Kennedy ended the set with a kill from the back row.
After going up 4-0 in set 3, the Lady Highlanders had the rest match under control. Along with playing well for the first two sets, senior middle blocker Hannah Hickman, was dominant on offense in the third with 5 kills, 2 blocks and an ace. The only run that Lake Travis had in the third was when they had a kill and two blocks in a row, bringing the score to 19-10. But the Lady Highlanders shut that down and ended up winning the set 25-12.
“I think we’ve done a really good job preparing for each match, reviewing our scouting reports, watching film, practicing to defeat the next opponent so we’re ready for that.”
The Lady Highlanders advances to the regional semifinals, and will play either Pearce or Lake Highlands depending on the outcome of their game tonight.