Even though the Lady Indians swept Arlington Seguin at home Tuesday to remain undefeated, the best news for the team may have come before the match started.
Senior outside hitter Summer Stevens was cleared to return to action and played in the victory, senior middle blocker Sorrel Barnes participated in warm ups and is practicing and appears to be getting closer to playing and the team got good news on senior outside hitter Courtney Miller as she has started lightly practicing and appears close to making a return.
All of that good news propelled the Lady Indians to a 25-10, 25-19, 25-12 victory. Waxahachie has now won nine straight sets and 12 of its last 13.
“I'm pretty pleased and they played well,” Faussett said. “Some things showed up in our offense. We've been struggling running on the outside set and that showed up really well tonight.”
Stevens had been on the bench for the last month with a knee injury, but returned to the court Tuesday briefly during the final set. She was out there long enough to get a kill.
Barnes has missed just about all of the season with an illness and returned to practice Monday. She also fully participated in warm ups Tuesday and could have played, but the coach wanted to still take it easy with her.
“Monday was her first day back at practice so we're being gradual with her,” Faussett said. “She did a little more than half the work out and really looked great hitting. It's going to take a little while to get back in game shape and we don't want to rush it. We'll give her a little more the next two days and she how she does.”
With Barnes getting close to a return and Stevens already back, the bench got a little bit more lonely for Miller. But she won't be on the bench by herself for much longer.
“Courtney is getting really anxious now that her bench buddies are starting to get back out there,” Faussett said. “The coalition of injured players is starting to get better and she kind of sulked over to the bench by herself during warm ups so she's anxious to get back. We're hopeful that she's able to make a limited comeback in the next two weeks. Her recovery has been great. She's done everything she can do.”
Worth noting that if she can return, even limited, in the next two weeks, she'll be ready to play the first match of the second half of district play at Red Oak on Oct. 8. Miller and Barnes haven't played since the first tournament of the year back on Aug. 17 in Denton.
In those three players' absence, several players have stepped up and allowed the Lady Indians to continue to play well. Faussett noted that two players in particular stepped up on the offensive side of the ball Tuesday to keep things going.
“That outside offense ran really well with Lisa (Trevino) and Lyndsey (Griffith) on the short set in between the middle and the outside,” Faussett said. “The middle has to be open for that to work and to free up the outsides.”
Trevino has been a consistent contributor on the team for the last couple years and had six kills Tuesday night. Griffith has really stepped up this year and has become a real leader on the team, even though she's just a junior. Griffith had 15 kills Tuesday, a new career high. She also leads the team with 212 kills on the year.
Griffith essentially put away the first set Tuesday with a couple big swings, including the one that put the team up 20-10.
In set two, Seguin played great defense and hung around for most of the set. Several of the points that the Lady Cougars got came after great defensive plays. They pulled to with two at 13-11, but Trevino stepped up and dominated the final three points to put the set away.
Set three was all Waxahachie, especially after Cristian Armstrong checked into the game and aced her very first serve. Aeriel Horton also served well as she had four aces and served a total of 26 times, more than a third of the team's total serves.
Horton also had 10 digs while Mary Kate Clark had 12 and Celi Bruce added 14. Clark also ran the offense with her 28 assists.
As a team, Waxahachie returned 30 serves and had just one return error on the dominating night.
Waxahachie (26-5, 4-0 in 15-4A) will take the court again at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Mansfield Summit (17-7, 3-1 in 15-4A).
The Lady Jaguars swept Red Oak at home Tuesday night to hand the Lady Hawks their second district loss of the season. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that Red Oak will lose two district matches.