Wednesday , 18 October 2017
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Volleyball Playoffs: Lady Broncos Dominate Richardson in Opener

WYLIE — Dominating.

That’s the one word that comes to mind when describing McKinney Boyd’s performance Monday night in the first round of the UIL 5A volleyball playoffs — a sweep of Richardson High School (25-13, 25-14, 25-18) at Wylie High School.

And it wasn’t even that close, as 10 of Richardson’s 18 points in the third set came off of Boyd errors.

Lady Broncos head coach Kelly Arbabi said she was “very proud” that her team came out and played their game, and at their level. “Sometimes it’s hard, especially when you don’t know a team very well,” she said, “you try and figure them out instead of coming out and play at your level.”

Boyd will take on the winner of Tuesday’s match between Rockwall-Heath (25-7, 12-0 in district 12-5A) and Garland (13-18, 6-6 in district 11-5A) in the second round of the UIL 5A-playoffs. The date and time of Boyd’s second-round match has yet to be determined.

Richardson (19-15 overall, 8-4 in District 9-5A) entered Monday’s match as the No. 2 seed in district 9-5A while Boyd (32-9) was the No. 3 seed in 10-5A.

“We didn’t necessarily play down to their level,” Arbabi said, noting Richardson was a “respectable” team.

The Lady Broncos came out with a different focus to start the game, punishing kills at the net and rejecting Richardson’s own net attempts through all three sets – including a play where Ashleigh Martin used her foot to save a shot in the second set.

Outside of that play, Martin was successful the rest of the night with her hands, leading Boyd with 10 kills, while contributing 10 digs.

Arbabi said Martin is playing great at the net, adding that “not many defenses can stop her.”

She added Martin is having a lot of success offensively off sets that are “out of system,” meaning plays aren’t set to come her way, but Boyd setters are sliding the offense to her side of the court, and Martin is getting more chances at the net that anyone the last few games.

And when Boyd is getting the chance for set plays, Arbabi said her setters are doing a great job, adding “a sign of a healthy team” is having multiple players contribute kills during the game.

Baylee Bingaman and Jordan Kiley each had eight kills, while Jill Duffin led the team with four blocks at the net. Duffin contributed 12 digs, also.

Katelyn Bryant led Boyd with 13 digs, while Montana Watts collected 12.

While Boyd was able to cruise to victory in around an hour’s time Monday, Arbabi said her team’s 10-5A schedule prepared them for this moment, saying each district game is a “dog fight.”

And those battles in 10-5A possibly gave Boyd an edge on the mental side of the game, with Arbabi saying she saw a different mindset and focus from her squad during warm ups.

“It’s one and done,” Arbabi said. “I think the seniors put that urgency of let’s do this.”

Arbabi will be counting on that senior leadership the rest of the way, using their experience during last season’s run to the semifinals of the 5A state playoffs, to guide the younger players through the playoffs.

“They know what it’s going to be the next two rounds, and I know they’re going to be mentally prepared,” she said.

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