Second-round playoff hopes for both Kilgore and Sabine were halted Tuesday night at John Tyler High School, and at Longview High, as the Rusk Lady Eagles eliminated the Lady Bulldogs from the UIL Class 4A postseason, and White Oak handed Sabine its exit.
Leverett’s Chapel was slated to open the 1A playoffs Friday evening against Yantis in Union Grove. Coach Rickey Hammontree’s LC Lady Lions made the 1A state tournament a year ago.
The Lady Bulldogs played well, coach Lacy Coldiron said, in taking the first-round matchup to a fourth game. Kilgore lost the first two sets, 25-13, 25-19, won set three, 25-22, and then lost, 21-25.
The Lady ‘Dogs finished up the season 13-20-1, and with a 5-4 record at home. They’ve been to the playoffs in two of Coldiron’s three seasons (missing last year).
“I’m very proud of the girls,” Coldiron said. “We did a lot of things that haven’t been done in a very long time. I think they are finally starting to believe in themselves and that they are capable of winning.”
Kilgore finished tied for fourth with Chapel Hill after the regular season, but then bounced back and beat Chapel Hill in the team’s third meeting (and tiebreaker), sweeping CHHS on their home court last week.
Kilgore had to wait on Rusk, who finished in a three-way tie for first place in their district. Rusk advanced with a 30-8-1 overall record. They were to face North Lamar.
KHS had 36 kills against Rusk; Lauren Bryant had 13, and Jada Abercrombie had eight. Symonne Brooks had five, Tiana Holland had four, Jamaria Thomas had three, Dayton McElyea had two, and Mackenzie Cavanaugh had one. Thomas, Holland and Abercombie each had a block. McElyea had 18 assists; Nicki Rawls had 14; and Brooks had one.
Abercrombie led with 16 digs. Cavanaugh had 14. Brooks had 11; Bryant had eight; Haley Page had six; Rawls and Thomas each had five; Skyler Day had four; and McElyea had two. Abercrombie had five aces; Bryant had three; and Cavanaugh and Thomas each had one.
Coldiron’s position as head volleyball coach at Kilgore has been a bit musical-chair-like since 2000, but she’s been a stable force for the Lady ‘Dogs and is already talking about next season – Kilgore had only one senior, Holland. Coldiron said Holland will definitely be missed.
“I am extremely impressed with the way they don’t quit,” she said. “We have some crazy saves and comebacks simply because the girls refuse to give up, no matter the circumstances.
“I think we have grown a lot and are definitely becoming more consistent. We should be looking really strong next year since we have almost everyone back. It’s been neat to see them grow as a team, just as I know I am growing as a coach.”
The Lady Cardinals also lost in four, 15-25, 25-15, 18-25, 13-25. White Oak advanced to the second round and lost to Mineola.
Sabine finished 24-17 overall for coach Kristen Reaves.
Miranda Cook had 12 kills; Kristen Stuart had eight, Sam Bell seven, and Jada Carter, four. Brookelyn Gray, Andrea Busby and Sierrah Richter each had one. Richter had three aces; Bell had two; and Gray, Hagen Dorman and Hannah Merritt each had one.
Stuart, Cook and Richter each had a block. Gray had 22 digs. Bell had 12, and Richter, 10. Sarah Davis had seven; Dorman had six; Carter had three; Stuart and Cook each had two; and Merritt had one.
Davis had 19 assists. Richter had 13.