All three teams finished the regular season 5-5 and tied for second place. Refugio clenched the third place spot in the playoffs and Odem, the second, following the matches.
“Taft and Refugio drew game one and what a game it was,” said Coach Selina Hemphill.
The winner would play Odem to determine which team would make it into the state playoffs next week.
“Although the Lady Cats lost to the Lady Hounds in their last two previous meetings, they knew what had to be done,” the coach said.
After dropping game one 25-19 the Lady Cats adjusted their game plan to take game two 26-24. Game three was a long struggle for both teams.
The quick tips that had kept the Lady Hounds in the match was quickly taken care of by the Lady Cats defense and the Cats took game three 28-26.
With renewed confidence, and behind a season record high of 35 kills from Brittani Wade, the Lady Cats continued the momentum to take the match 25-19 and clench a playoff spot.
After only a 30 minute break, the Lady Cats now had to face the Odem Lady Owls to determine who would go into the state playoffs as second place and who would be third.
The Lady Owls came into the match refreshed and ready.
“Fatigue was heavy on the Lady Cats but they knew that they couldn’t let fatigue or satisfaction cloud their minds and get in their way,” Hemphill said.
The Lady Owl’s fresh legs were evident in game one as they took the game 25-18. The Lady Cats were not deterred.
“They knew that with fatigue they had to be more focused and methodical to win,” the coach said.
So, out of the huddle they left, focused and determined and victory was theirs, 25-23. Game three and four were identical to the first two.
Odem would take game three 25-18 and Refugio would take game four 25-23. The Lady Cats would take the early lead 8-4 but the Lady Owls would cut the lead to within two.
Once again the Lady Cats would pull away 12-10. But a couple of unforced serves receive errors by the Lady Cats would be enough for the Lady Owls to take the lead and the win 15-13.
The win sends Odem into the state playoffs as second place and the Lady Cats will represent the district as third.
Stats for the Taft Match:
Kills: Wade 35 (season record), Brittney Gumm 12, Shelby Bellows 3, Haley Beck 3, Kristen Wise 3
Assists: Wise 25, Christiana Boyer 25
Blocks: Gumm 2, Beck 1
Aces: Michelle Rosas 6, Gumm 5, Wise 4, Katie Bernal 1, Beck 1, Alexa Montemayor 1, Boyer 1,
Digs: Gumm 2, Rosas 1
Stats for the Odem Match:
Kills: Wade 21, Gumm 8, Shelby Bellows 4, Beck 4, Hailey Brynelsen 3, Wise 1, Boyer 1,
Assists: Wise 25, Boyer 10
Blocks: Beck 1, Wade 1
Aces: Wise 5, Gumm 4, Rosas 3, Boyer 3, Bernal 1, Montemayor 1