Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Volleyball: Lake Dallas swept by Dumas
VERNON - As tough as Lake Dallas' road to the playoffs was this season, actually getting there wasn't even the hardest part.
As it turns out, its first round draw was far more difficult.
After clawing for the last two weeks of the season to make up for a slow start in district play, the Lady Falcons made an early playoff exit Tuesday following a 25-14, 25-14, 25-14 thumping at the hands of West Texas powerhouse Dumas in Vernon.
"It's disappointing because I know what we're capable of," Lake Dallas head coach Mary Ketcher said."I know what we can do. I think we just had a little bit of those first-time jitters. The girls didn't know what to expect. It was a long bus ride, lots of hype - you have to start somewhere, I guess. We just have to move on and build from here."
Lake Dallas (22-17) entered the season as a preseason favorite to earn a playoff spot out of District 4-4A, but struggled while going just 3-7 through the first 10 games of district play. With a back-to-back wins over Wichita Falls and Wichita Falls Rider, combined with a late-season collapse by Denton, however, the Lady Falcons rallied from the brink of elimination in stunning fashion to finish third in the standings on the final day of the season.
Unfortunately for Lake Dallas, the celebration didn't last long.
Matched up with a strong District 3-4A playoff group consisting entirely of teams ranked in the top 25 of the Texas Girls Coaches Association volleyball poll, the Lady Falcons were the 4-4A team unfortunate enough to draw second-seeded Dumas.
The Demonettes (33-10), ranked No. 11 by the TGCA poll, quickly validated their state ranking, scoring 10 straight points to open the first set and jump out to a commanding lead. The shell-shocked Lady Falcons eventually recovered enough to pull within five, but another 7-1 by Dumas put the set out of reach and set the tone for the rest of the match.
"That first set was all passing," Ketcher said. "We were down 10 points before we got a pass off. [Dumas is a good team - their two middles are awesome - but we just really didn't have our best game."
Lake Dallas would fall behind early again after giving up five straight points to open the second set and, despite responding with a 3-0 run to pull back within two, eventually lost control after a 7-2 Demonettes run that put it behind by seven points.
The Lady Falcons started the third set on a more positive note, scoring the first two points, but soon faded as Dumas scored 22 of the next 26 points to take a 24-8 lead before pulling its starters from the floor. The Lady Falcons scored six straight points after that point, but eventually fell in its third straight 25-14 decision to lose the match.
Whitley Chambers led Lake Dallas on offense with eight kills on the day, while Samantha Llamas posted four kills. Both Chambers and Llamas also had two blocks, while Regan Forson led the team in assists and digs with 10 apiece.
Despite the lopsided loss, Ketcher said the playoff experience was good for Lake Dallas' steadily improving program.
"I'm very proud of them," she said. "The younger girls are seeing what is happening and got to see what this is all about. We expected this to happen at the beginning and then we thought we were out of it for a while. The girls worked hard, though, and it all just kind of fell into place. I'm proud of the way they were able to work and pull through."
Dumas will move on to play El Paso Riverside on Saturday with a chance to advance to the regional quarterfinals next week.
MARSHALL MOORE can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com .