Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Volleyball: Celina knocks off Sanger in rematch
AUBREY - With their mind set on winning their first playoff match in any of their careers, and the first for third-year head coach Heather Feller, the Sanger volleyball team looked like a team pushing for history early in Tuesday's Class 3A Region II bi-district match against District 10-3A champion Celina. DRC/Al Key Sanger's Jamie Barnes, left, and Paige Herring go up to block a shot by Celina's Jordan Raulerson, front, during their playoff match Tuesday in Aubrey. View larger More photos Photo store
Sanger lost the match 25-17, 28-26, 25-23 as the Lady Indians were unable to avenge a nondistrict, five-set loss to Celina, which moves on to face two-time defending Class 3A champion Lovejoy in the area round.
"We came out flat, tense and nervous - all of it," Feller said. "It definitely put us into a hole. I'm proud of the way the girls fought back but we just made too many mental errors as a whole."
An early 4-3 deficit in the first set quickly hit a downhill spiral into a 12-3 Celina lead behind the serving of Jordan Raulerson, a lead which eventually ballooned up to 20-9 before a late Sanger rally to close the losing margin.
The second set saw some of the same problems for Sanger (22-15), the third-place finisher in District 9-3A.
But trailing 24-19 and with their backs against the wall, the Lady Indians made a push before eventually losing the set 28-26 after several long rallies and crucial points that brought the crowd to a roar.
Celina appeared to win the set 25-23 when Danielle Lynn chased the ball into her team's bench, but Celina's players stood up to get out of Lynn's way, ruling the play illegal and giving Sanger the point, and some extra life.
But it was only a brief respite from the 2-0 hole after the Lady Indians hit the ball into the net to give Celina the commanding 2-0 lead.
Feller said the second set was a key opportunity to steal the momentum from Celina, but her team came up just short.
"I really think if we could've gotten that second set, things could've been different," she said. "But ultimately, we just made too many mistakes."
Feller watched the final match for four of her seniors, including four-year starter Reagan Miller, who finished the match with a team-high 11 kills, 15 assists, five digs, three blocks and an ace.
Fellow senior Paige Herring had five kills and five blocks, and Malori Stucky chipped in five kills, as well.
Libero Taylor McInerney led the Lady Indians' defensive effort with eight digs.
The third set saw Sanger fight back from a 14-8 deficit to eventually lead 21-19 before the LadyCats fought back to take a 23-22 after another phenomenal play from Lynn, who ran down a ball on the sideline, near the back line and sent it back over her head into an empty spot on Sanger's end of the floor.
Two points later, Mariah Vick's kill ended Sanger's season and its quest to break a long playoff win drought after losing in the first round last year to Paris.
"I'm just glad they played and had a good time," Feller said. "We came out and played hard, they just made too many mistakes and sometimes it's hard to pick yourself up from that. I want them to enjoy themselves in this situation, but we just made too many mistakes to win a ball game."
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .