By Audra Paine, TSB Staff
HUNTSVILLE — In the end, the three-hour drive was worth it.
The McKinney Boyd Lady Broncos made the long journey to Sam Houston State University to take on The Woodlands on Friday night in the regional semifinals of the UIL State volleyball tournament. And they closed the night in celebreation, defeating the Highlanders 3-1 to advance to Saturday morning’s Regional Finals.
The scores of the match were 26-24, 25-23, 24-26, and 25-18.
With the win, the Lady Broncos will face a familiar foe in District 10-5A rival Plano at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Lady Wildcats beat Kingwood 3-0 to set up the rematch with the Boyd on Saturday morning at Sam Houston State. The winner of today’s match advances to the final four next week in Garland.
The Woodland High Landers are the first team in the playoffs to take a match off of the vicious Lady Broncos during playoff competition. The Woodlands gave Boyd a little trouble when they stole the momentum in the third, but the Lady Broncos handled it well and were able to come back in the fourth set to take the match.
Boyd coach Kelly Quinn was very pleased after the game with the strong effort from her girls.
“Well they came out strong,” said Quinn. “The only lesson we need to learn from that is we can’t let up. In any game you cant let up. You can’t lose a 20-12 lead but they’ve been here and their experience showed up tonight. They know rebounding in that fourth set was a need, especially since the momentum was with The Woodlands after that third match.”
Every one of the Lady Broncos who stepped onto the court this evening had a role in this match. The girls played together and meshed well enough to shut down their opponent’s defense. Megan Mollett played with a lot of passion, racking up 26 kills against the Highlanders defense. Kelly Koop brought in 11 kills and Lauren Petrisin played outstanding and ended the match with 10 kills. Setters Tori Turck and Parker Sheperd each had 17 assists as well for the Lady Broncos.
Kaley Seaber had an amazing game running the defense from her position as libero. Whether she was in the middle or on the left side, she was ready and prepared to do whatever it took to keep the ball in play, ending the match with 32 digs. Mollett also had her defense on display Friday night, finishing the match with 34 digs.
In the season series versus Plano, Boyd won both games by a combined score of 6-3. However, the Lady Wildcats were the only other team to take the Lady Broncos to five games besides McKinney in the season finale.
Understanding that every opponent from this point on are state championship caliber squads, the Lady Broncos know that they can’t let up regardless of what the scoreboard says.
“The biggest lesson we learned tonight was, you cannot let up,” said Quinn. “(You lead) 20-12 lead in the third set and you lose? That just can’t happen in playoffs. It’s their last game so it’s not like they’re going to just lie down and give it up. I think they thought we have such a big lead and they’re going to make mistakes and let us win the game. We just have to be able to shut the door.”
Plano and Boyd will begin the match at 11 a.m. from the Johnson Coliseum at Sam Houston State. Look for updates from the TSB Twitter feed or follow the TSB sports editor Mike Bruu @TSBSportsBruu for scoring updates from Hunstville.