HS Volleyball: Lady Highlanders Win on Extra Special Senior Night

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 10/03/2023


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The Woodlands Lady Highlanders (27-13) defeated the Conroe Lady Tigers (20-20) in a hard-fought match during the senior night festivities.

The outgoing class for the Lady Highlanders played in front of a less-than-ideal home crowd, but the importance of the match was not lost on the Woodlands coaching staff.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Woodlands Head Coach Terri Wade spoke on how the celebration fueled the team’s drive during the match.

“It's senior night, we want to celebrate,” said Wade. “We wanted to give everybody else something to celebrate and to be excited about the game.”

With their seniors in mind, the Lady Highlanders got to work in the opening set. The team established an early lead on the back of a series of aces that caught the Lady Tigers off guard.

Some more aces and savvy defense from the back row propelled the Lady Highlanders through the midway point of the set. The lead swelled to as much as eight points for the Woodlands as things looked to be in control.

But, the Lady Tigers refused to quit, with a series of points that benefited against the Lady Highlanders’ gaps on defense. Thankfully for the Woodlands, the lead allowed them to remain in front despite the comeback effort, claiming the first set with a 25-23 victory.

“We have to start out with momentum,” said Wade. “It came down to them trying to finish those last ten or so points.”

Conroe initiated control at the start of the second set, with aces benefiting their momentum. A handful of errors from the Lady Highlanders also kept their offense handicapped in the early going.

The miscues were shaken off throughout the set without a timeout needed from the Woodlands coaches. Serves were cleaner, communication was more sound, and hits made their marks, allowing the Lady Highlanders to claim the lead.

“Having a big senior class helps,” said Wade. “They have such a close bond, and they are really good on the court. There is a lot of maturity out there.”

The scoring run continued for the Woodlands, with the set ending in a 25-13 comfortable win for the Lady Highlanders.

With the pressure on them, the Lady Tigers needed to get a win in the third set if they had any hopes of continuing the match.

A hard-fought, defensive approach defined Conroe in the opening of the third set. Sensational digs and blocks on the front row pushed the Lady Tigers slightly ahead as both teams neared double digits.

Despite the adversity, the Lady Highlanders kept the lead within reach, just needing a small run to bring the set under their control. That run came in the form of four unanswered points that snagged them the lead.

The Lady Tigers continued to scrap with the match on the line, ultimately getting the lead back at the 18-17 mark. The Lady Tigers only needed four more points to clinch the set before a Woodlands timeout aimed to derail their momentum.

The timeout provided a burst of scoring for the Lady Highlanders that the team rode to a tie at 24 points apiece. With the need to win by two points, both teams battled for the knockout blow. The Lady Tigers were the ones who found it with back-to-back points to force a fourth set.

After brutally dropping the third set, the Lady Highlanders sought to establish momentum and end the match strongly. They got their wish via stingy defense that put the onus on the Lady Tigers to find shots.

Like they had done all match, the Lady Tigers continued to fight after the Woodlands claimed the lead. Forceful swings made their way through blocks, only to be met by the steady hands of the Lady Highlander defenders laying out to stop them.

Following a Conroe timeout, the unforced errors began to rear their ugly heads again for the Lady Highlanders. Serves sailed out of bounds, and hits found the net more often than the Lady Tigers’ side of the court.

A timeout necessitated changes on the Woodlands side, with the team trying to avoid an all-for-nothing final set.

“[We] want to celebrate our seniors, and their minds were a bit off because they were thinking about other things,” said Wade. “We had to dial back to take a deep breath and refocus on what we were trying to accomplish.”

With the changes in hand, the Lady Highlanders strung together points that grabbed the lead and kept it on their side. Swings came in full force, and the errors were cleaned up as the set closed. The Woodlands pulled through in the final set with a 25-18 win.

After the win, the Lady Highlanders must face the district’s top team in the form of the Grand Oaks Lady Grizzlies on the road. Conroe now takes their two-game losing streak and hosts the Oak Ridge Lady War Eagles in the battle for fourth place and the last playoff spot.

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