Thrilling. Compelling. Heartbreaking. Dramatic.
Those are a few adjectives one could use to describe McKinney Boyd’s four-set victory (12-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-23) over crosstown rival McKinney High on Tuesday night at Boyd. The victory clinched a season sweep from its crosstown rival.
The win puts Boyd (31-9, 6-4) in a tie for second place in District 10-5A with Plano Senior. Boyd head coach Kelly Arbabi said she would rather flip a coin to decide postseason position instead of playing a game against Plano Senior.
“I prefer to flip, because you have nothing to lose,” she said.
On Tuesday, it was MHS that came out playing with seemingly nothing to lose, stunning the raucous crowd with a 25-12 romp of Boyd in the first set.
Arbabi contributed her team’s slow start to the emotions of Senior Night, and not being ready to play.
“The first game, McKinney was ready to play and we were still crying,” Arbabi said.
The Broncos dried their eyes and came out strong in the second set, hitting crucial kills when it mattered and not leaving points on the floor en route to the 25-19 set win.
Boyd was led offensively by Ashleigh Martin with 18 kills, as well as her 11 digs defensively.
“Ashleigh Martin played out of her mind,” Arbabi said. “I’m very proud of her, she’s kind of rising up as our go-to hitter and proud of where she is right now.”
McKinney High, however, would not go silently into the night, continually battling back to stay in the match, and on several occasions would battle back to tie games in the third and fourth sets.
Arbabi said Boyd inflicted its own wounds, giving up set points and committing errors on kills.
“Those are just volleyball no-no’s. I think that showed nerves,” Arbabi said.
Despite a game Lionettes squad, and a frenzied student section filling Boyd with “Lions Nation” chants, Boyd and its “Red Nation” overpowered MHS, winning the final three sets.
Lauren Petrisin contributed 11 kills Tuesday, and Montana Watts and Parker Shepherd combined to total 38 of the team’s 77 digs.
The Lady Broncos’ first playoff game with be next Tuesday night, Nov. 5, and Arbabi said their opponent will be determined Wednesday during district meetings.
Arbabi said she is confident in her team’s ability heading into the playoffs, saying her squad plays in one the toughest districts in the state, and the last few weeks of district play have prepared Boyd for what’s ahead.
“I anticipate us going far for the next few rounds,” she said. ” We just need to turn it on, because there’s a whole other level of mental preparation that goes into playoffs.”
As for MHS, the road to postseason took a hit with its loss to Boyd. The Lionettes will have to play a one-game playoff with Plano West on Friday to determine who will be the fourth and final team in the postseason from 10-5A.
Claire Embry and Erin Hoppe combined for 27 kills Tuesday night, while Ashley Robert led MHS with 15 digs. The Lionettes snared 60 digs on the night.
The location and time of the Lionettes match with Plano West, and Boyd’s first round opponent will be announced Wednesday.
Photos by Jennifer Santos