Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Churchill front row dominates, ending Southlake Carroll's season
Southlake Carroll entered the state volleyball tournament having swept its last 28 opponents.
That streak came to an abrupt end during Friday’s state semifinal, and so did Carroll’s season in a 25-19, 25-20, 15-25, 25-22 loss to San Antonio Churchill at the Curtis Culwell Center.
Churchill sophomore outside hitter Abby Buckingham, a Texas pledge, was unstoppable in front of the net. She was a .394 hitter and racked up 31 kills in the win.
"We caught them off guard,” Buckingham said. “It gave us all the momentum.”
With Carroll’s loss, the 5A state champion will come from somewhere other than the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the first time since 2009. Churchill will face the winner between League City Clear Falls and The Woodlands at 7 p.m. Saturday .
Carroll started sluggishly and dropped the first two sets. It woke up to dominate the third, but Carroll never found an answer for Buckingham.
She finished the final set with three straight kills to send Churchill to its first state final since 1985. Carroll, which has been the area’s top-ranked team in two of the last three seasons, has never been to a 5A final.
“We didn’t play as well as we probably could have,” Carroll coach Arthur Stanfield said. “I think we hit .169. It’s hard to beat a good team when you have that bad of a night.”
Churchill’s defense was unflappable behind 32 digs from Karley York and 28 more from Katie Pope.
Christen Sikora led Carroll with 13 kills, and Madison Drescher added 11.
“When we started losing a couple points [in the fourth set] I knew we could come back from that,” Sikora said. “But we made so many errors.”
OTHER SEMIFINAL GAMES
The Woodlands dropped its first set in 17 matches but still breezed to a 25-21, 25-20, 16-25, 25-17 victory against League City Clear Falls in a 5A state semifinal Friday at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.
The top-ranked team in the state and the nation advances to face San Antonio Churchill in the 5A championship at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Courtney Quinn led The Woodlands (44-0) with 18 kills and Kelly Quinn contributed 23 digs, both of which were team-highs.
Alyssa Enneking led Clear Falls with a match-high 33 kills.
Decatur d. Big Spring, 25-12, 25-22, 25-10: Cooper Martin tallied a match-high 13 kills to pace top-ranked Decatur past Big Spring in a Class 3A state semifinal.
Serena Estrada led the Decatur defense with 13 digs, and setter Stormi Leonard dished out 30 assists.
Decatur (40-7) will face Bellville in the 3A state championship at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Bellville d. College Station, 25-17, 25-16, 21-25, 25-16: Ashleigh Traylor had 14 kills and 10 digs to lead the way for Bellville in a 3A state semifinal.
Bellville, which is playing in its 15th state tournament, will face top-ranked Decatur in the 3A championship at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Reilly Kuenstler added 12 kills for Bellville (41-7), and Keeton Holcomb had a match-high 19 digs.
Round Top-Carmine d. Lindsay, 26-24, 27-25, 25-21: Round Top-Carmine scraped past Lindsay in a tight 1A state semifinal.
Round Top-Carmine had four players with double-digit digs, including Megan Hohlt (18), Brittany Hohlt (18), Brook Conley (15) and Jordan Peters (11). Megan Hohlt led the attack with 20 kills.
Round Top-Carmine (32-12) advances to face Windthorst in the 1A state championship at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Windthorst d. Jewett Leon, 25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 11-25, 15-8: A five-set thriller was the only way to decide a 1A state semifinal between teams that have combined for 46 state tournament appearances and 21 championships.
Breann Schreiber recorded 20 kills and 17 digs to lead Windthorst to the victory against Jewett Leon, the defending state champion.
Windthorst (36-8) advances to face Round Top-Carmine in the 1A state championship at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.