Written by SportsDayDFW.com
HS volleyball playoff roundup: Fifth straight title remains a possibility for Lovejoy after win over Cedar Park in 4A semifinals
GARLAND — A fifth straight state championship is within reach for Lovejoy, but getting it will probably take a better performance than the team showed during Thursday’s semifinal.
Cedar Park led for most of the first two sets and dominated the third, but that wasn’t enough against Lovejoy’s endurance and talent. Lovejoy held on for a 25-22, 25-20, 19-25, 25-22 victory in the 4A state semifinals.
Lovejoy advances to face Aledo in the state championship at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.
Lovejoy, the top-ranked team in the state since the preseason polls came out, hasn’t lost a match since Aug. 31.
Lovejoy dropped its first set of the postseason Thursday and only its third since Sept. 1.
Cedar Park (40-8) certainly didn’t look like a team playing in its first state tournament. Hitters Hailey Roberts and Hope Lemon kept Lovejoy’s defense off balance, and Lovejoy (47-4) didn’t do itself any favors. It made 20 attacking errors and nine service errors.
Roberts finished the night with 19 kills and Lemon had 12.
Lovejoy’s Ebony Nwanebu, who signed with Southern California on Wednesday, led the team with a game-high 25 kills and had 14 digs.
Seniors Mallorie Puckett (12 kills, eight digs) and Lucy Tweedie (nine kills) also turned in solid performances. Freshman Sarah Langs had six blocks, and senior setter Shannon Connell had 50 assists.
Lovejoy, which has won four consecutive 3A titles, is playing its first season in Class 4A. If Lovejoy wins Saturday, it would be just the third team in Texas to win five straight titles. Class A Plains and Windthorst are the only other teams to win five titles in a row.
Five-set victory puts Aledo in first title match
Brock, Schulenburg also survive in five, will play for 2A crown
GARLAND — Briana Sharratt had a team-high 22 kills, and Mallory Powell added a match-high 42 assists as Aledo beat Friendswood, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 19-25, 15-11, in a Class 4A volleyball state semifinal Thursday at the Curtis Culwell Center.
Aledo (41-5) advanced to its first state championship match and will play Lovejoy (47-4) at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. In its only other trip to the state tournament, Aledo lost in the 3A semifinals in 2001.
It was the second five-set match for Aledo in the last three matches. It beat Amarillo, 15-7, in the fifth set in the regional semifinals.
Raygan McLelland was second on Aledo with 15 kills, and she led the team with 20 digs.
Jillian Bergeson had 30 kills, but it wasn’t enough for Friendswood (42-5). Friendswood was making its seventh trip to the state tournament, and its sixth since 2000.
Brock d. Holliday, 3-2: Amy Henard recorded 24 kills, 29 assists and 17 digs to help Brock beat Holliday, 25-27, 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 15-7, in a 2A state semifinal.
Brock (44-3), in the state tournament for the first time since 2005, will play Schulenburg in the final at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Braylee Flaska had 14 kills, 25 assists and 20 digs, and Abbey Drillette added 13 kills and 13 digs for Brock to help offset a combined 55 kills by Holliday’s Morgan Lewis (30) and Sarah Garfield (25).
Schulenburg d. White Oak, 3-2: Shannon Mikesky had 12 kills, 34 assists and 15 digs to lead Schulenburg to a 17-25, 25-23, 25-14, 24-26, 15-9 win in a 2A state semifinal.
Bay Guentert added 11 kills and 11 digs for Schulenburg (35-9), which is at the state tournament for the first time. Dorothy Swanson had a match-high 16 kills for White Oak (40-6), which lost in the state semifinals for the third time in four years. White Oak won the 2A state championship in 2010.