HS Volleyball Playoffs: Bridgeland Makes School History Knocking Out The Woodlands
LUFKIN, TX -- The history of sports in The Woodlands spans many decades and so does their reign of the athletic district. With new schools like College Park and Grand Oaks many of the kids have split up into their respected schools creating an area power house. The Woodlands stands out as the most noticeable, going up against many tough schools around Texas which gives them the reputation of being one of the top schools. As the 2021 season began, The Woodlands was the top contender for the district championship. Although they were dominate through the pre-season, the district gave them a run for their money as many of the local schools can roll with the best of the best. In the end, College Park edged out The Woodlands giving them a perfect season as they entered the post-season playoffs. The Woodlands got into their groove and flexed their dominance as they plowed through the regional and area rounds. Next up was the regional finals and their opponent Bridgeland who has made waves through their district and is evenly matched with The Woodlands.
As The Woodlands Highlanders entered the brand-new Lufkin Multi-Purpose Facility, all eyes were on one thing, winning. Same has to be said about the Bridgeland Bears who have rarely seen this round in previous years. It was evident that these two teams where close in competition as they warmed up and never broke character. Each of the players on the court had a strong mindset and was ready for the battle for Regional Champion.
The first set was electric, as the crowd for both sides erupted the first ball was served and the game began. Quickly, The Woodlands made it clear that they will be the aggressor and come out forcing errors on Bridgeland creating chaos as they felt each other out. Though the first set the teams were evenly matched only making small errors resulting in point on the board. At the time Bridgeland was on the defense as The Woodlands put pressure and momentum on their defenders. Even though it seemed one sided they went point for point, rallying non-stop at times for over a minute. The Highlanders aggressive play took the advantage as they steal the first set, 25-23.
The second and third sets had a different pace as the aggressor changed from The Woodlands to Bridgeland. The Highlanders seemed off as they lost the first couple of points to small errors and unfortunately have a difficult time communicating when the momentum shifts to the other team. Basically, getting into their own heads wanting perfection instead of just playing and taking the pressure off of an individual and instead moving as a team to get work done. It took a couple of rallies for them to get their head straight and since then they were strong and making moves as a team. Although the Bears nudged their way to win two sets in a row, The Highlanders were still in the game showcasing strong defense which made Bridgeland work for those wins. Making this Regional Final two games to the Highlanders one game win.
The fourth set was sort of a wash set per se as the Bridgeland Bears throttled back the aggression and played very reserved. The Woodlands seemed to walk all over them, scoring points and digging out many of kill attempts. It was an easy win making the game tied at two but something seemed off. It would seem like Bridgeland was giving many of their players a rest knowing they have a buffer game just in case they needed to sacrifice it.
This game would turn out to be exciting as it went to a rare 5th set. Knowing there is only 15 points left to win The Woodlands and Bridgeland gave it their all going point for point until the end. The Woodlands was on their way for another state appearance but Bridgeland once again stole the show and for the first time in school history won the Regional Final. As they make history, Bridgeland is to face The Keller Indians in the state semi-finals in Garland, Texas.
The Woodlands once again made a huge run in the playoffs giving their seniors one last chance to play together. As the next season begins, we will see new player emerge and take the place of some of the best high school players in Texas. Some will continue their journey in college and others will pursue a different career path, but this was a memorable moment in their career.