Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Carroll volleyball exacts revenge in Region I semifinals against Colleyville; Plano outdone by No. 1 The Woodlands
GLEN ROSE — A year ago, Southlake Carroll’s volleyball season ended with a regional semifinal loss to Colleyville Heritage.
Carroll exacted revenge Saturday, defeating Heritage in straight sets, 25-19, 25-19, 25-23, in the Class 5A Region I championship match at Tiger Arena.
The victory propels Carroll (48-1) to its first Class 5A UIL state tournament semifinal Friday at Garland’s Culwell Center. The Dragons in 1998 made it to Class 4A state.
Even though Carroll needed only the minimum number of sets, the match between the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the state according to one ranking service had its tense moments.
In last year’s loss, Carroll won the first two sets, only to see Heritage reel off the final three.
When his team built a two-set lead this time, Carroll coach Arthur Stanfield never mentioned last year’s match in his huddle.
“They know,” the coach said. “They lived through it.”
Senior Cat McCoy, a University of Texas signee, said even if the coach wasn’t bringing up last year, the players were among themselves.
“We were reminding each other we had been here before and that we couldn’t get comfortable,” said McCoy, who led Carroll with 21 digs.
Fellow senior Christen Sikora, bound for Furman and one of five on the team that has signed a college letter of intent, said she started getting nervous when Heritage trimmed a five-point deficit in the third set to one, 24-23.
Tension was erased for good on the fourth match point when Audrey Alford’s set turned into a crosscourt kill by Madison Drescher.
Alford also set up the other two set points, accommodating Megan Porter to end the first and Sikora in the second.
Katie Martin led Carroll with 10 kills, Drescher had nine and
Sikora eight. Megan Porter had four aces and five kills.
Heritage (42-7) led only briefly in any of the three sets, and never by more than one point, but stayed within striking distance.
“We had 21 hitting errors and that’s just too many,” said Heritage coach Jamie Siegel. “When you play a team like Carroll, a team that doesn’t make many errors, you can’t win when you make as many mistakes as we did.”
Maddie Jones, a 5-9 junior, led Heritage with 16 kills and Anna Walsh, a 6-2 junior middle blocker, finished with 13.
The Woodlands d. Plano, 25-17, 25-13, 25-7: In Huntsville — The state’s top-ranked team, The Woodlands, ended Plano’s hopes of a state tournament berth with a 25-17, 25-13, 25-7 sweep of The Wildcats in the Region 2-5A championship match Saturday night at Johnson Coliseum on the Sam Houston State University campus.
The Woodlands (43-0) had entered the match undefeated and ranked #1 in the nation in some polls. The Highlanders had not dropped a set in 16 consecutive matches and only four all season (one those in a 2-1 win over Region 1 champion Southlake Carroll early in the year).
Briefly, on Saturday, it looked like Plano might be the team to bring those streaks to an end.
Led by senior OH Kylie Long, Plano started strong, jumping out to a 13-7 lead in the first set. That forced a rare Woodlands timeout and whatever coach Leslie Madison told her Highlanders worked. The Woodlands went on a 10-0 run behind the serving of Madison McDaniel, and Plano was never in the match after that. The Woodlands finished with an 8-4 run to take the first set.
The second and third sets were more of the same as The Wildcats continued to struggle with the Highlander serve.
In the second set it was top-serve specialist Rachel Reed with two long service runs and McDaniel unloading down the line and cross court as The Woodlands jumped out to a 17-9 lead and rolled 25-13.
In the third it was Kendall Cook on a monster service run as The Woodlands jumped to a 12-0 lead and never looked back, reaching a lead of 21-2 before closing out the set and the match.
Long and Aubrey Davis finished with six kills each to lead Plano. Whitney Scroggins had 7 assists and 11 digs while Emily Conard led the Plano back row with 11 digs.
Courtney Eckenrode, an American Volleyball Coaches Association second team All-America selection, led The Woodlands with 29 assists, 5 kills and 16 digs. McDaniel finished with 15 kills and Courtney Quinn added 11 to lead The Woodlands’ attack.