In the movie "The Replacements" Keanu Reeves tells his football team "I wish I could say something that's classy and inspirational, but that just wouldn't be our style." Such is the case for the 2019 Lady Dragon Volleyball team - if we are going to win a match it is going to be hard and gutsy and gritty. It is not going to be pretty. And last night's first set in Lewisville did not start out well.
Down 0-5 to begin the match, the Lady Dragons came back to cut the lead to 22-23 but then saw Marcus score the final two points of the set to win 25-22. Instantaneously the Lady Dragons were against a one set to zero hole. Anyone who knows the way rally scoring works knows that for the rest of the night you are in must win mode. Drop another and your season is one set away from the brink.
The second set, however, was a completely different match as the Lady Dragons won 25-11 thanks to strong contributions from he entire roster. Players like Laura Bramblia, Anna Proskovec and McKenzie Cutler played the set of the year, including a 6-0 run from Proskovec from the service line. Although the Lady Dragons appeared to have firm control of the night after the 25-11 stanza the rest would be white knuckle time.
Both teams played as well as they had all year, according to Carroll Head Coach Teresa Dunn. "That was a really high quality first round match. Both teams were outstanding."
After Carroll took a two sets to one lead with a victory in set three, Marcus appeared to have sent the match to a fifth set, racing out to a 13-9 lead in the 4th set and forcing Dunn to dip into her bag of timeouts. A 13-9 lead midway through a fourth set, when the other team is still serving, is almost insurmountable in a game to 25. And yet again, SLC was at a crossroad. If the #2 seed from District 6 forces the match to a 5th set who knows. This night might have had an entirely different outcome. Following the timeout the Dragons went on a 5-0 run to take a 1 point lead. Marcus would tie the set several times but the Lady Dragons would take the set 25-20 and the match 3-1.
On paper that looks fairly routine for the first round of the playoffs. But anybody who saw this bi-district match will tell you there was nothing routine about Marcus's fight or Carroll's response on this night. This moment was encapsulated by Junior libero Keagan Polk leaping over a sprawled Laura Bramblia to dig a serve that was headed for Carroll's in line. Bramblia had done her best to get a great tip on the ball which had taken her out of the play. Sprawled teammates are to be hurdled when there is a point to be saved in the playoffs.
Dunn highlighted this great gritty moment by saying "This team has learned how to fight over the last six weeks. We have learned how to drop a set and be excellent fighters with our back pushed against the wall."
Such is life in the playoffs when all this earns you is the right to do it again on Friday. SLC, 31-11, heads to the Area round to face Mansfield on Friday, Nov. 8th at 6:30pm at Trinity HS.