HS Volleyball: Wild ending pushes The Woodlands past Klein
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The Woodlands and Klein went to head-to-head on Tuesday night in a battle of two of the top volleyball teams in the state of Texas. After a loss to the Bearkats in the first half of the district season, the Highlanders got their revenge in a 3-1 win at home in a thrilling, and somewhat controversial game.
The opening point of the game was a kill by the Highlanders’ Amanda Ifeanyi. This would be a constant theme throughout four sets as the senior middle blocker absolutely dominated at the net against Klein. With double-digit kills and a couple of momentum-shifting blocks, Ifeanyi’s performance on Tuesday night was a crucial part of The Woodlands finding a way to put away a tough opponent.
The Woodlands would win Set 1 25-16 to take the first lead of the match. A strong start by the team and a boost off the bench from Julieta Valdes, followed by a few errors from Klein would be enough to carry the Highlanders to an opening set victory.
Klein settled in and showed why they’re also highly ranked in Texas in set 2. The Bearkats placed shots in the toughest areas to cover, even for a very athletic Woodlands team. The Highlanders seemed to be somewhat caught off guard by the response from Klein and really struggled to make plays consistently throughout set 2. The Highlanders attempted a late comeback sparked by Ifeanyi and Dylan Maberry, but the Bearkats held on to win 25-18 and evened the game at one-all.
The Woodlands bounced right back in set 3. Fueled by their boisterous student-section dressed in Halloween costumes, The Highlander trio of Ifeanyi, Maberry, and Valdes would lead the way on their route to another 25-16 win, giving them a 2-1 lead, and setting up a chaotic fourth set.
With The Woodlands on the verge of a huge payback win and Klein with their backs against the wall in hostile territory, both teams raised their game to an even higher level. The Highlanders and Bearkats went back and forth, point for point all throughout set 4. Clara Brower electrified the home side with some savvy plays to keep The Woodlands out in front. Brower, alongside Ifeanyi, also came up with thunderous blocks to keep the slight advantage on the side of the Highlanders.
Coming out of a timeout late in set 4 is when the chaos began. With a 23-21 lead, The Woodlands looked to have hit the ball long and out of play. However, the line judge on the Woodlands end of the court ruled that the ball was tipped at the net and out off of a Klein player.
After confusion and frustration from both sides, the officials came together for the second time in the game to discuss who would be awarded the point. After the discussion, the point was awarded to The Woodlands, giving them a 24-21 lead, setting up a match-point serve. The Klein players and coaching staff were irate with the call and held up the match to argue with the officials. After refusing to stop arguing and return to her bench, Klein’s head coach was assessed a yellow card by the referee. Klein’s coach continued to argue, and after throwing items on the sideline, the coach was issued a red card, giving The Woodlands a point and the win.
The win gave The Woodlands sole possession of first place in District 15-6A, moving them to 40-3 and 12-1 in district play. For Klein, they fall to 10-2, even with College Park in second place, who has the tiebreaker over the Bearkats.