HS Volleyball Playoffs: Lady Grizzlies Sweep Bridgeland to Advance to the Semis

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 11/07/2023


CYPRESS, TX -- The Grand Oaks Lady Grizzlies swept the Bridgeland Lady Bears in the UIL Volleyball Regional Quarterfinals at the Berry Center.

The match served as a rematch of a playoff match from last season, where Bridgeland took home a win that sent Grand Oaks packing with a season-ending defeat.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Grand Oaks Head Coach Morgan Rogers explained her team’s mindset in another do-or-die match against the Lady Bears.

“That was definitely on our minds from last year,” said Rogers. “Last year we left things up to chance and this year we had to work through it.”

Both teams were well represented in the neutral site match, with fans making the lengthy drive for the 5 PM start.

The time and venue did not faze the Lady Grizzlies, who marched out to an impressive lead as the match got going. Grand Oaks led by eight points through the midway point of the first set, which necessitated a Bridgeland timeout.

The Lady Bears snagged a few points after the break, getting them from well-timed blocks and a handful of Grand Oaks hits missing their mark. They rode these points to a run that brought the set within four points of a tie before the Lady Grizzles called a timeout to refocus their effort.

“”We talked about controlling our side,” said Rogers about the timeout. “Not sitting back and waiting for people to give it to us, we’re going out and we’re taking this.”

With the adjustments in mind, the Lady Grizzlies buried the two points they needed to secure a 25-20 win.

Bridgeland took the lessons from the first set and paired them with an immediate 3-0 run to open the first set strong. Their lead remained intact due to the inconsistent scoring from Grand Oaks, who failed to string together more than two points before the teams hit double digits.

The lead increased to six due to the continual errors on hits from Grand Oaks, who kept putting their hits out of bounds.

Grand Oaks gradually reeled in the strong hits, allowing them to rattle off five straight points, which brought the match within one point of tying the teams at fourteen points apiece.

“Their defense was frustrating [our] hitters and making them commit uncharacterisic errors,” said Rogers about her team’s miscues. “But as the match went on, and we settled down a little bit and kept the focus.”

A battle ensued where the Lady Grizzlies would come within one point of tying before Bridgeland would go back up by two. Back-to-back points from Grand Oaks brought the teams even at 16, where the battle turned into a contest of ties.

The window for victory began to open for Grand Oaks after pulling ahead at 21-19. Bridgeland attempted to salvage a hard-fought effort throughout the set with a timeout, and the strategy paid off.

Bridgeland posted two points out of the huddle, but the Lady Grizzlies would not let the set slip through their fingers. A 4-1 run finished by a lengthy volley secured a 2-0 set advantage and momentum going into the third for Grand Oaks.

“The momentum was huge,” said Rogers about her team going into the third set. “We knew we had to push it if we wanted to go and if we wanted to take this it needed to be now.”

It was do-or-die for the Lady Bears as the third set got underway, or their season would end in a straight-set sweep.

Another back-and-forth contest opened the third set, as both squads fought to string together enough points to attempt a breakaway on the scoreboard. This inconsistent nature was encapsulated by a combined four ties between the teams before either had hit five points.

The Lady Grizzlies were the first team to pull ahead on the scoreboard due to a 3-0 scoring run, but their run was reciprocated by the Lady Bears, who drew even with a mirroring run of their own.

It took a 4-0 run from Grand Oaks for the lead to increase in their favor, coming at a crucial point in the set. The teams had just reached 10 points apiece when the Lady Grizzlies began to inch away from their opponent, which would allow them to secure their command on the set.

Bridgeland refused to surrender in the face of adversity, mounting a comeback effort that swung the lead back to their side at 19-18.

The 6-0 run that got them there died before either team reached 20 points and left enough of an opportunity for the Lady Grizzlies to try and take advantage. But, an error from the Lady Grizzlies kept the match going at 24 points each when the team could have completed the sweep.

Despite the deafening cheer from both fanbases, a kill from Halle Thompson and an ace from Audrey Terry got the back-to-back points that Grand Oaks needed to complete the 3-0 sweep over Bridgeland.

“It’s easy to lose that composure and the second we do it downfalls,” said Rogers about the tense closing moments. “But I think it was cool to see them stay focused and come together as a unit.”

The win keeps the streak of straight-set victories that spans back to August alive for Grand Oaks, but it points out some issues that need to be tackled before the next round.

“We have to focus on cleaning up the little things on our end,” said Rogers. “We struggled big tie blocking, so that will be a focus fo us while making sure we’re not getting used the way we did.”

Rogers and the rest of the Grand Oaks Lady Grizzlies advance to the Regional Semifinals with the date set for Friday 10th at 6 PM. The opponent is still up in the air at the time of writing, between Rockwall and Sachse.

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