Volleyball Team to Compete at State

Amy Neese
The Lady Raiders celebrate after winning the regional tournament in Lubbock Saturday. The team will compete for the state title later this week.

The volleyball team’s quest to earn the state title will be decided this week at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas.

The Lady Raiders (42-3) will take on Alamo Heights in the semi-finals at 11 a.m. Friday. If the Raiders win, they will play for the state championship against Lucus Lovejoy (46-5) or Friendswood (34-17) at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Raiders competed in the regional meet this past weekend at Lubbock Coronado. Fans sat on the edge of their seats as the Raiders got off to a rocky start against Grapevine Friday night. After losing their first two sets (16-25, 17-25), the Raiders knew they had to win set three to continue their run for state. However, again, the Raiders were falling short in set three. Out of time outs, and Grapevine at game point, the team had to rely on each other to keep their state dream alive.

One more point and they would have beat us. It was insane. When we got the serve, we [decided] we were not going out like this.”

— Brianna Ford, senior

“We were down 19-24,” senior Brianna Ford said. “One more point and they would have beat us. It was insane. When we got the serve, we [decided] we were not going out like this. That’s when we pulled it out and won. That was the most heart I’ve ever seen us play with.”

The Lady Raiders rallied back to defeat Grapevine in set three 25-24 and won the final two sets 25-18 and 15-9 to advance to Saturday’s game against Amarillo High. It was the third time the Raiders faced the Sandies this season. On Saturday, the Raiders quickly rolled over their Bell Street opponents in three sets 25-16, 25-12, 25-16 to seal their spot at the state tournament. Regional tournament officials named Ford MVP of the tournament.

“It was an honor to accept the MVP award,” Ford said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the hard work of my teammates. Peyton (Irwin) did an amazing job on defense, our setters did a great job running the court and everyone else did an amazing job of just stepping up to the plate.”

Putting this weekend’s games behind them, Ford said the Raiders are now focused on what is ahead.

“We are going to work really hard in practice, watch film and just play with the passion and heart that we played with this weekend,” Ford said. “Winning state means everything. Since 7th grade, we’ve been working up to a state title.”