Bree Zellers was nearly unstoppable, collecting a team-high 15 kills as the Holliday Lady Eagles upset No. 9 Brownfield in a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-20, 25-22) on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at Jim Ned High School in Tuscola.
“Bree was on-fire,” Holliday head coach Wendy Parker said. “She missed a few serves, but as far as everything else, she was lights out.”
The No. 7 Lady Eagles (24-4) meet top-ranked Bushland (27-2) in the regional finals on Saturday, Nov. 14, in Childress at 5:30.
The undersized Lady Cubs were outmatched at the net, resulting in 12 blocks by Holliday. Junior Payton Murray led the charge with a team-high four rejections while seniors Brittany James and Zellers each logged three.
“Blocking was key,” Parker said. “We shut their big girls down and they had to send it out to some of their other girls. Once we adjusted our defense, we were ready for their swingers to hit deep and their other girls that didn’t hit as deep.”
Entering the regional semifinal matchup, the Lady Cubs had lost only one set since Sept. 29. The Lady Eagles quickly changed that tune.
After battling to an 11-all draw early in the opening set, sophomore Morgan Bodde sparked a 9-0 run by the Lady Eagles with her devastating serve. The setter fired off a trio of aces during the rally and finished with six on the night as Holliday used the momentum to roll to a first set win and 1-0 lead in the match.
“We served well,” Parker said. “Morgan served unbelievably. She’s served like that all year. She’s been key all year. She’s super solid on her serve.”
A surge in the middle of the second set allowed the Lady Eagles to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Tied at 11, Holliday mounted a 9-4 run, highlighted by a trio of kills from Zellers to pull within a game of advancing to the regional finals for the first time since making it to the state semifinals in 2012. In the second set alone, Zellers tallied seven of her 15 kills.
Brownfield fought valiantly in the third set, keeping the Lady Eagles at arms-length for much of the frame. Holliday just had too much firepower and too many weapons for the Lady Cubs to keep up. Back-to-back blocks from Murray cut the deficit to two at 14-12 before James tied the set at 16 with her lone kill of the night. A Zellers kill and four Holliday blocks pushed the Lady Eagles within a point of advancing. Murray finished the match with her sixth kill of the night on a spike from the middle to punch Holliday’s ticket.
Zellers finished with a double-double, tallying 15 digs to go along with her 15 kills. Sophomore Addison Lindemann was second on the team with nine kills, three digs and a block.
Defensively, junior Skylar Rivers anchored the back line with 12 digs while junior Sarah Cowan totalled eight digs.
Bodde logged 15 assists and a pair of digs to go along with the six aces while sophomore Belle Welch handed out 12 helpers and racked up eight digs.
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