HS Volleyball Playoffs: Lady War Eagles Handle Business in the Bi-District Round

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 10/30/2023


ALDINE, TX -- The Lady War Eagles made a strong statement against the MacArthur Generals in the Bi-District round of the playoffs, with action taking place at the M.O. Campbell Education Center.

An electric environment awaited both teams, setting the tone for a back-and-forth open to the first set.

The squads battled for points that came from inconsistent runs. Four combined ties before either team hit double digits illustrated the lack of reliable scoring that both teams experienced in the early opening.

Despite the lacking start, the Lady War Eagles were the first team to pull away. A 7-0 run brought on by powerful hits through the MacArthur defense drove shots into the middle of the Lady Generals’ zones.

Some additional blocks from the Oak Ridge front line gave the Lady War Eagles a 14-point lead that provided enough of a cushion for them to comfortably exit the first set with a 25-11 win.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Oak Ridge Head Coach Tommie Sledge spoke on what fueled her team’s play in a tone-setting first set.

“I think it was the excitement,” said Sledge. “They were looking forward to getting out there with the big atmosphere and having a nice crowd.”

The momentum carried over to the second set for Oak Ridge, as the team quickly built a lead that sustained them throughout the set.

Kills from middle blockers Luvina Oguntimehin and Michah Rusher drove home points that immediately put the Lady Generals out of reach. A 12-point lead before MacArthur had reached five points further demonstrated the oppressive effort that Oak Ridge was playing with.

“Everybody executed,” said Sledge. “They all have different jobs when they go in, they know what that job is and they support each other in those roles.”

MacArthur never came within 10 points of Oak Ridge during the second set, affording the Lady War Eagles another easy win, matching the first set’s score of 25-11.

To start the third set, Lady Generals were forced into desperation mode, with their season on the line against the dominant Lady War Eagle’s force.

The desperation manifested in lapses in the defense that caused easy points to come on aces from Lady War Eagle serves. The lapses were further seized upon by Oak Ridge with their continual use of strong hits that forced their way into the heart of the MacArthur zones.

With substitutes coming in for Oak Ridge at the midway point of the set, it was clear that the Lady War Eagles were playing out the stretch. The change came as an opportunity to provide experience to players who have worked so hard throughout the season for the chance to play in a playoff environment.

“They practice hard together,” said Sledge. “So letting them grow and get that feeling of this stadium atmosphere is a payoff for all the hardwork.”

Even with the substitutes, the Lady War Eagles continued to benefit from errors and violations from the Lady Generals, who could not find open windows for points even after timeouts for adjustments. Oak Ridge’s lead continued to increase, culminating in a 14-point lead ahead of match point.

The final set ended the same as the others, 25-11, securing a straight-set victory for the Lady War Eagles in a statement opening-round win. The turnaround will be fast for Oak Ridge who look for hard practices ahead of their next match.

“It is a fast turnaround so we are looking for intense practices,” said Sledge. “We are trying to hit a spot, we are trying to serve to a spot whether it’s practice or in a game.”

The Lady War Eagles now await their next opponent for round two of the playoffs, which will take place later in the week.

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