SAN MARCOS — In what was undoubtedly the biggest win to date for the McKinney Boyd volleyball program, the Lady Broncos won a thrilling four-game match versus Cy Falls (25-18, 25-19, 20-25, 25-22) Friday night to move on to Saturday’s state finals.
Boyd is just one win away from the title they’ve had their eye on since the offseason.
According to the Lady Broncos, it didn’t matter who they played in Saturday night’s Class 5A volleyball state championship match at 7. Even before the girls watched Coppell defeat San Antonio Johnson in the second semifinal game of the evening, Kaley Seaber and the rest of the Lady Broncs’ were already focused on taking home the gold.
When asked which volleyball team she preferred to play in the championship game, Boyd’s senior libero replied, “We’re going go beat either team.”
Heading into this week’s state tournament, head coach Kelly Quinn constantly reminded her girls about the importance of adapting quickly to the atmosphere of a final four volleyball match. The Lady Broncos have played well under pressure all season long and – just like a team with a championship mentality – they weren’t the least bit fazed by the size of the arena or the crowd noise that came with it. In fact, Seaber pointed out that the Strahan Coliseum was even less intimidating than the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum at Sam Houston State where Boyd defeated Georgetown and Austin Westlake.
“The gym actually seemed smaller than the last one,” Seaber said. “In that gym, it seemed like the bleachers extended up way higher. There were a couple of balls lost in the ceiling but other than that it was pretty comfortable.”
In their five previous playoff seasons, the Lady Broncos have never played a game at Texas State in San Marcos. Leading up to Friday’s game, Quinn heard ‘horror stories’ from fellow varsity volleyball coaches at other programs about the challenge of serving against the huge white wall on the north side of the stadium. Luckily for Boyd, and the rest of the teams playing this weekend, the white wall would not be as big of a factor as in past years due to the fact that UIL volleyball is now played with a multi-colored ball.
White wall or no white wall, the Boyd varsity volleyball team showed up to the state semifinal looking to make quick work of a 40-win, Cy Falls program. The Lady Broncs’ started off hot with a fairly one-sided game one that ended with an emphatic kill from junior Krista Bukovec to cap the set.
In game two, the Lady Eagles stepped up their game and even managed to take a three-point lead that left the Lady Broncos visibly frustrated. Boyd’s struggles didn’t last long, however, as the game’s momentum quickly shifted back to the home team and the Lady Broncos rolled on to a 25-19 win.
Just when it looked like the McKinney Boyd was 25 points away from playing in the state championship volleyball game, Cy Falls made key adjustments in the third set that not only changed the momentum of the match but allowed the Lady Eagles to take game three and lead for much of the fourth set. With her team trailing 17-13 in the fourth game, Quinn called a much-needed timeout. With every point, the Cy Falls crowd grew louder and louder as the Lady Eagles were drawing closer to forcing a fifth and final game after trailing by two sets.
Shortly after the timeout, the Lady Broncos found themselves back in the drivers’ seat with the game tied at 18-18. From that point, Boyd did what it does best and closed the game out in dominating fashion to win 25-22 and advance to the long awaited championship game.
“We’ve done that before,” Quinn said of her team’s comeback in game four. “It’s not a surprise. This team has a lot of heart. They had that fight in them.”
After watching their team lose in the third set and trail in the fourth, Broncos’ fans who made the four-hour trip to support their girls in the state tournament were on the edge of their seat until the game-winning point was in the books. For the varsity volleyball team, the feeling on the court, in the huddle, and on the bench was not one of nerves but rather confidence.
“We just have this mindset that we’re not going to lose,” senior Drew Darling said. “We know that we’re going to work hard to get every point,”
In what will no doubt be an exciting conclusion to the Class 5A volleyball season, McKinney Boyd will face Coppell Saturday night at Strahan Coliseum in San Marcos at 7 p.m. In an early season tournament, the Lady Broncos met and defeated San Antonio Johnson 2-1. Boyd has not yet faced Coppell this season.
-Joe Arriola, TownSquareBuzz.com
–All photos taken by Cherie Phelan–