Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Lovejoy sweeps through Region II volleyball tournament to earn trip to state
RICHARDSON — Can anyone stop Lovejoy?
The move up to Class 4A hasn’t slowed the top-ranked Leopards, and neither did their competition in District 13-4A.
Lovejoy swept its fifth straight playoff opponent Saturday, defeating Frisco, 25-15, 25-20, 25-13, in the Class 4A Region II final at Richardson Berkner.
Lovejoy, which has won 29 consecutive playoff games and the last four 3A state titles, advances to the 4A state tournament next weekend in Garland.
“We feel like a 4A title is a bigger goal than our 3A titles were,” senior Ebony Nwanebu said. “It’s going to be much tougher.”
The 6-4 Nwanebu, who is committed to Southern California, led Lovejoy with 22 kills, six blocks and 12 digs. She had 11 kills in the third game and keyed a 13-4 run to close the match.
Senior outside hitter Mallorie Puckett added 10 kills and 16 digs, and setter Shannon Connell distributed 45 assists.
Frisco fended off six set points in Game 2, but Lovejoy freshman Sarah Langs was able to finish the job with a powerful kill.
Lovejoy never trailed in the first two sets, and it quickly overcame an early 4-2 deficit in the third.
“Frisco is a scrappy team, and we wanted to keep on them offensively and keep coming at them in waves,” Lovejoy coach Ryan Mitchell said. “Eventually, the defense broke down, and that was the idea.”
Frisco ended its season with a 35-9 record after reaching the regional final for the first time since 1992. Frisco took second place in District 9-4A and grinded its way through the playoffs, highlighted by a four-set upset of Highland Park in the quarterfinals.
“They have the heart and the desire and the work ethic,” Frisco coach Janie Litchford said of her team. “They’ve been so coachable and worked so hard, and that’s what got us where we are today.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.