Thorndale finally warms up to rally past Abbott
Milano swept the Lady Pirates, third place in District 15A, at Rosebud-Lott High School’s Cougar Gym, winning in three sets 25-7, 25-13, 25-8.
The Lady Eagles ( 31- 6) did struggle from the service line, but worked to get the kinks out.
“I was not happy with our serving, but otherwise we played fine for the occasion,” Milano veteran head coach Wendy King said. “Naomi Graham served extremely well, bailing out some of the others who had uncharacteristic misses. That’s what being on a team is all about—picking each other up.”
Graham served 14 times in the opening game of the match, one of those an ace. She also had four digs and three assists.
Halle McManess put down eight kills, six digs and one block. Keely LaGrone added two kills and two aces (her last to win the game in the third set). Megan Pendergrass added five assists, three digs, one block and one ace.
Next up is the area round where Milano will face off against District 13A champion No. 19 Kopperl (17-3). The two teams are set to meet Thursday at 7 p.m. at Waco University.
The Lady Eagles are the second place representative out of 16A but are actually co-champions of the league with Thrall.
Thrall had a bye in the first round of the post-season.
Anyone who was at the Class A Region II bi- district game on Tuesday night at Bulldog Gym between Thorndale (15-16) and Abbott (21-7-2) would have thought that the Lady Dogs’ season was just about over as they had lost the first two sets and faced their backs against the wall.
But not Thorndale head coach Lisa Coelho.
“I told them we are finally warmed up,” she said after they lost the second game of the match.
Warmed up they were, coming from behind to take the postseason game 19-25, 26-28, 25-19, 25-14, 15-10.
Thorndale now moves on to the area round of the playoffs where they will face No. 14 Cayuga at 2 p.m. Saturday at Waco Robinson.
Cayuga is the winner of District 14A and is Region II defending champions and state semifinalist. They had a buy in the first round of the playoffs.
Abbott was the second place team from 15A. The Lady Dogs, third place in 16A, struggled in the first two sets with communication and passing.
They never lead in game one and were behind most of game two. Thorndale actually came back in the second game to make it interesting. They were down 16-9 and fought back to tie things up at 23-23. Tight net play but both squads saw them fight to 28-26 score.
In the third game, the Lady Panthers jumped out to an 8-2 lead, but Thorndale remained resilient. Tying things up at 13-13, the Lady Dogs took the lead and never looked back. They were never down in the fourth or fifth games.
“I told the girls they were the best at coming from behind,” Coelho said. “We finally started moving our feet and passing to our targets. We never gave up.”
Emily Churchman led Thorndale with 30 kills, 18 digs, one block and one assist. Kailey Cargill added 14 kills, 10 digs and five assists.
Kamryn Holder had 32 assists, eight digs and three kills. Peytyn O’Campo added 13 digs, two assists, two aces and one dig.
Shelbi Schneider had 11 digs and two aces, with Shelby Anders adding seven digs and two assists. Meagan Cuba pulled out four digs and three aces and
Savannah Driver had three digs and one assist. Emily Garza had two kills, one block and one dig and Madison Kropp added two digs and one assists.
Sophomore Illene Heard led the Lady Panther effort with 14 kills, two aces and a one block. Junior Morgan Pevehouse added seven kills.