Spectators unfamiliar with 8-2A volleyball witnessed what league followers have known for quite some time Monday night in Windthorst – wins in this district are earned, not given.
Henrietta and No. 7-ranked Holliday did not disappoint, going five thrilling sets – the last three games won by the narrowest of margin – in the Region I-2A Quarterfinal game in front of a gym-packed and rowdy crowd.
Morgan Lewis chalked up 23 kills while Sarah Garfield and Kelci Bedingfield each added 16 kills to lift the Lady Eagles over an upset-minded Henrietta squad, 21-25, 25-16, 25-23, 24-26, 16-14.
It was the third meeting between the two district rivals this season and a rematch of the 2010 regional quarterfinals.
"I asked the girls to leave it all out on the court – no regrets – and that is exactly what each one of them did," said Henrietta coach Rochelle Kabisch. "This match could have gone either way and I feel like even though we came up two points short in the end, we were still winners."
Holliday (32-6) advances to Friday’s Region I-2A tournament in Abilene. The Lady Eagles will play the winner of Amarillo Highland Park and Friona.
Henrietta made a return to the postseason after a one-year absence and peaked at the right time. The Lady Cats asserted themselves early on by pulling out a four point win in game one.
The loss was enough to wake up the Lady Eagles as Lewis, Bedingfield and Garfield powered Holliday to a strong game two win before struggling to edge out Henrietta in the third set.
With the match tied at two apiece after four games, the Lady Cats found themselves in a 14-10 deficit in the decisive set. Henrietta battled to score four more points, however the Lady Eagles were able to close the game out to seal the regional quarterfinals by two points.
"We have talked all season about never giving up. When we were down in the fifth set and the easiest thing in the world would have been to give up but these girls gave a tremendous effort and fought until the very last whistle blew. I am extremely proud of what all these girls have accomplished this year," Kabisch said.
Sierra Burkhart and Anni Scholl finished with 16 and 15 kills respectively. Scholl also had three aces to go with 19 digs. Joyana Zamzow had nine kills, followed by Addison Wade and Cheyenne Barry with six and three kills respectively.
Annelise Sauer had 30 digs while Katie Halsell and Kailey Kirk had 25 and 18 assists respectively. Cassie Pickett added 12 digs and three aces.
The Lady Cats lose just three players next season from this year’s team in seniors Barry, Taylor Burch and Sauer.
Henrietta advanced to the regional quarterfinals by dumping the District 6-2A champion Grape Creek Lady Eagles (17-17) Saturday in Eastland during the Region I-2A Area matchup, 3-1.
Burkhart led the aggressive attack with 17 kills and Scholl pitched in 10 kills, 11 digs with two aces.
Henrietta fell early into a 9-4 deficit in game one but answered with a 12-3 run to trigger a rally. The two squads battled closely down the stretch as Grape Creek contested a trio of set points from the Lady Cats, however, Henrietta was able to finally pull away and seal a 25-21 win.
In the second set, Grape Creek once again got off to a hot start, storming to an 11-4 advantage. The Lady Cats served up a pair of aces to trim the deficit to 18-10 during the set, but the team would not threaten thereafter as Grape Creek evened the match with a 25-17 victory.
Henrietta took a 2-1 lead in the match after breaking a 18-18 deadlock in game three with a 7-4 outing the remainder of the way to earn a 25-22 win.
The Lady Cats ended Grape Creek’s season in the four game by stringing together a 7-1 early in the set before closing the Lady Eagles out with a 25-20 decision.
Wade finished with 10 kills for Henrietta while Zamzow had eight kills and three aces in the victory. Bennett served up a team-high five aces to go with five kills.
Sauer had two aces and dug out 22 balls defensively and Pickett added 17 digs. Halsell and Kirk had 20 and 11 set assists respectively.
Ashley Doss and Macayla Burner led Grape Creek with eight and six kills respectively. Doss added five blocks with two aces, while Burner had a team-high three aces in the defeat.