Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Amarillo defense stonewalls Prosper, ending magical playoff run
GARLAND — Prosper finally met a team capable of stopping its momentum.
Amarillo, the top-ranked team in the state and owner of nine state volleyball titles, ended Prosper’s magical run through the playoffs with a 25-16, 19-25, 25-20, 25-13 victory Saturday in the Class 4A championship match at the Curtis Culwell Center.
Prosper, competing in its first state tournament, struggled to mount successful attacks on Amarillo’s stoic defense. Prosper committed 35 attacking errors and hit .043 in the match.
No outcome could have diminished the season Prosper (35-12) put together. After finishing third in District 9-4A, it beat the area’s fifth-, third- and second-ranked teams to reach state, then swept state-ranked No. 2 Dripping Springs in the semifinals.
“Three of my six starters don’t play club, and we made it to the state finals,” first-year Prosper coach Erin McClanahan said. “We finished sixth in district last year. They really had to work and fight to have a great year.”
Prosper’s loss means the Dallas area will go without a volleyball state champion for the first time since 2007. Southlake Carroll, the area’s other state qualifier, lost in the semifinals Friday.
Amarillo middle blocker Zoe Hardin led the defense with 11 blocks to earn championship MVP honors. Amarillo (38-9) had 14 total team blocks, and Sam Nolan had a team-high 21 digs.
“When we saw [Prosper] play Thursday, we understood why they were here,” Amarillo coach Jan Barker said. “They had everything going for them. We knew we had to play one of our best matches ever to come out on top of this one.”
The match took a decisive turn midway through the pivotal third set. The teams were tied, 13-13, before a 10-3 Amarillo rally closed the door.
The momentum swing continued into the fourth set, and Amarillo jumped out to an insurmountable 11-1 lead.
“We play very poised when we control the game,” Prosper senior outside hitter Meredith Bramer said. “And we know how to execute when we’re in control. We weren’t in control today, and we couldn’t execute.”
Bramer led Prosper with 17 kills on 52 attacks. She added 14 digs, two blocks and two assists.
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.