The Holliday Lady Eagles got all they could handle from Wall in the Region I-3A Area round of the postseason, surviving an early scare to claim a 3-1 (17-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-19) victory to punch their ticket to the regional quarterfinals.
Holliday (22-4) meets Peaster (20-4) in Jacksboro on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 11 a.m. The District 8-3A champion Greyhounds are coming off a pair of 3-0 sweeps against Bowie and Crane in the first two rounds, respectively, to set up the showdown with the Lady Eagles.
The Lady Eagles came out sluggish in the opening set against the Lady Hawks which put Holliday in an early hole. Wall built a comfortable 16-9 lead and maintained around a seven-point edge for the remainder of the first set. Holliday struggled to get shots over the Lady Hawks’ blockers and was unable to create any sense of momentum.
“We weren’t working hard enough in transition to get off the net and get a good approach,” Holliday head coach Wendy Parker said. “Wall worked harder at the net. Our energy was down in the first set so I told them we needed to add more energy.”
The second and third set both were a back-and-forth tilt. Anytime the Lady Eagles mounted a run, Wall answered.
Holliday capitalized on miscues from the Lady Hawks midway through the second frame. Leading 8-7, the Lady Eagles rattled off a 7-1 run to push the lead to 15-8 on three double-touch calls and a pair of attack errors. Wall punched back with a 9-1 run of its own to briefly take the lead at 17-16. After swapping points, Holliday turned the tide of the match with a 6-0 run, capped by a kill from senior Avery Stone and an ace from sophomore Morgan Bodde. Sophomore Addison Lindemann pulled the Lady Eagles even in the match with a monstrous kill to end the second.
The third set featured much of the same as both sides landed huge runs to swing momentum. Holliday raced out to a 13-6 edge, capped by a trio of aces from senior Bree Zellers. The Lady Hawks came back with a 13-3 run of their own to regain the lead at 19-16. Holliday took command of the match, however, with a 9-2 rally to grab a 2-1 lead in the match. Five different players logged kills on the run, capped by a combo block from senior Brittany James and Lindemann.
With momentum on their side, the Lady Eagles outpaced Wall in the fourth and final frame. Holliday opened the set taking a 15-5 edge and managed to keep the Lady Hawks at arms reach throughout. Junior Payton Murray punched Holliday’s ticket to the next round with a kill between two Wall defenders.
“I’m proud of them,” Parker said. “They fought through it. It never was super smooth but it worked. I’m very proud of them. Sometimes when things aren’t going well, it’s easy to get down. They never got down. They knew they had to work harder.”
Firing off a team-high six aces, Zellers spoke on how her thunderous right arm managed to swing the momentum of the match. The senior finished with five kills, a pair of blocks and eight digs to go along with the aces.
“I could feel that [my serve] changed the momentum. I was proud. It felt good seeing our team turn the energy around.”
Parker could not say enough about her senior’s performance with the season on the line.
“She was incredible on the back row. She struggled a little on the front row in the first set but she started getting back on top of the ball. She fixed her block and did a great job on the block for us too. She was lights-out for us. We really need her.”
Lindemann paced the Lady Eagles offensively with eight kills and a block while Murray added seven kills, three blocks and an ace. James matched Murray with a team-high three blocks and contributed three kills and an ace. Junior libero Skylar Rivers tallied 25 digs and a pair of aces from the back row in the win.
Setting for Holliday was another high-point in the match, according to Parker. Belle Welch handed out 15 helpers and had five digs while Bodde added 11 dimes to go along with eight digs and was a weapon from the service line with four aces.
“I thought our setters did a great job spreading the ball,” Parker said of her two sophomores. “The defense did a great job. Service-receive was good. Wall serves hard and deep. Our service-receive did a great job of giving the setters an opportunity to spread the ball.”
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