When you’re fresh off beating the No. 1 team in the state, it’s easy to have a letdown and lose focus.
Goliad volleyball coach Jess Odem was not going to allow that to happen to her Tigerettes, particularly with the title that had eluded them each of the past two years hanging in the balance.
Her girls took the court, took care of business and walked out of Cuero High School with their fourth regional championship in six years.
The Tigerettes dispatched Poth in four sets on Nov. 13 to win the Region IV title and advance to the state semifinals.
They were slated to face East Bernard in that state semifinal on Nov. 17 at Yoakum High School.
The winner from that match advances to the 3A state championship game to face either District 1 winner Bushland or District 11 winner Gunter. That match would be played Saturday (Nov. 21) at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland at 4 p.m.
The Tigerettes (28-3) rolled to wins in the first two sets against Poth in the regional final.
They claimed a 25-18 win in the opening set, then went up 2-0 in the match with a 25-16 victory in the second set.
Poth responded in the third set to extend the match, winning 25-23 to force the fourth set.
In that fourth set, Goliad built a five-point lead, 16-11, but saw that disappear when Poth won six of the next seven points to even the set at 17 apiece.
Odem called a timeout to stem the swing in momentum, and it worked.
Goliad won each of the first two points out of that timeout and won eight of the final 12 points to clinch the regional crown, 25-21.
“We just got into our huddle, got together, and said ‘This is our time. We need this,’” Odem said about that final timeout in an interview with the Victoria Advocate after the match. “And we got it done.”
The win was Goliad’s 23rd straight.
Karleigh Hill, Brook Jackson and Abby Yanta all reached double figures in kills in the victory. Hill racked up 15 of them, while Jackson and Yanta both recorded 11.
Kyla Hill and Mollee Henicke had five and three kills, respectively.
Henicke set up all 43 of the kills aside from her own. She also tied for the team lead in aces with two with Karleigh Hill.
Kyla Hill and Julia Morris both had one ace.
Morris led the Tigerette defense with 29 digs.
Karleigh Hill had 18 digs, Henicke recorded 12, Addison Zamzow had eight and Jackson recorded six.
Karleigh Hill led the team in blocks with three. Henicke and Yanta both had two blocks, while Jackson and Kaysa Wunsch had one block apiece.
The win came just three days after the Tigerettes bounced the top-ranked team in 3A out of the postseason.
Goliad knocked off previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Ingram Moore in five sets at Devine in the regional semifinals on Nov. 10.
All five sets were decided by five points or fewer.
The two teams traded 25-21 wins in the first two sets with Moore winning the first and Goliad taking the second.
The Tigerettes then went up 2-1 in the match with a 25-20 victory in the third set, but the Lady Warriors forced a fifth set by winning the fourth 25-22.
In the fifth set, the two teams split the first six points before Goliad moved in front 6-3 with three straight winners.
Goliad had the lead out to 9-4 in the set, but Moore whittled that down to 11-9 by the 20th point.
From there, the Tigerettes won four of the next five points to close things out and advance.
Karleigh Hill tallied 18 kills to go with 13 digs and four blocks, while Jackson had 11 kills, three digs and three blocks.
Yanta posted 11 kills for the Tigerette offense.
Henicke had 44 assists, 10 digs, six kills, three aces and one block.
Kyla Hill added seven kills, two blocks and one dig.
Morris recorded 11 digs, one kill and one assist.
Karli Buenger added eight digs and an ace, while Maddy Reitz had two aces and a dig. Zamzow and Wunsch both had five digs.