Lady Tigers go down swinging
It was Lorena instead, that experienced an eye-opener as the Lady Tigers fought to the bitter end before bowing 25-18, 25-20, 25-17 Monday night at Belton High School.
No. 8 Lorena (36-9) travels on to face the winner of the Huntington-Rusk contest in area competition.
Making their first playoff appearance since 2006 and only the third in the past 20 years, the Lady Tigers finish up 20-18, the first winning record since 1999 and most wins since a 25-4 record in 1994.
Rockdale finished fourth in District 18-3A to earn the post season trip.
“ The girls played their hearts out, they left everything on the floor, we never gave up,” said fifth-year Rockdale Coach Jason Williams. “I truly feel we surprised L orena. T hey w ere expecting a walk in the park, we gave them a walk through a war zone.
While Rockdale was swept out in three sets, all were contested and the Lady Tigers led in all three.
In the final game, Rockdale jumped out early 4-1, before the Lady Leps grabbed the lead for good 12-11.
Lorena reeled off four straight points to take the final game 25-17.
The match ended on an odd note as the Lady Tigers returned Kourtney Johnson’s serve, the ball ricocheted off a beam on the roof of the gym and the ball rocketed to the f loor, ending the match and the Lady Tigers’ season.
Rockdale led 10-8 in the first game and 18-17 in the second before being outscored 8-2 at the end of the game.
Senior middle blocker Shelby Evans paced the Lady Tigers, collecting six kills, 10 digs, five blocks and two service aces.
Sophomore middle blocker Dae Dae Robertson racked up 10 kills, three blocks and three service aces.
Senior Morgan Laughlin accounted for 15 digs, Amanda Boyd 12 assists, Keilee McKeehan 10 digs and Joli Carpenter six assists.
Junior middle blocker Ken- dall Johnson led Lorena with 10 kills.
Williams will lose six seniors in Samantha Muston, Emily McCoy, Boyd, McKeehan, Laughlin and Evans.
“This has been the best season since I’ve had the pleasure to be the volleyball coach here in Rockdale,” Williams said. “We had a lot of firsts this season; undefeated in pool play at our tournament, third place at our tournament, a winning season and a playoff spot for the first time since 2006.
“These seniors have left a legacy for the next teams to strive for and to better.”
Before they faced Lorena, the Lady Tigers hosted Snook in a warm-up game and came away with a 25-6, 13-25, 25-18, 25-20 victory.
Evans blasted 14 kills with 10 digs and seven blocks.
Robertson added four kills and three service aces, while Laughlin had 12 digs and five kills, McCoy 16 digs and Boyd 10 assists.
Lorena def. Rockdale 25-18,
Kills– Robertson 10, Evans 6, Boyd 1, Laughlin 1, McKeehan 1.
Assists—Boyd 12, Carpenter 6.
Aces—Robertson 3, Evans 2.
Digs—Laughlin 15, Evans 10, McKeehan 10.
Blocks—Evans 5, Robertson 3, Muston 1.