MANSFIELD — Though not a lot has changed since the Lady Indians swept the Mansfield Legacy Lady Broncos in round one of district play, each team has added a top playmaker back into the mix.
Last week's return of senior outside hitter Janell Fitzgerald combined with the emotion of homecoming helped the Lady Broncos take set one from the Tribe 25-20 on Friday in Mansfield. But the momentum did not carry into set two, three or four, as Waxahachie handled business for the four-set win, 20-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-17.
The win marks the fourth-consecutive victory for the Lady Indians, which is their longest such streak since winning six straight matches in the Mansfield Rotary Sunrise Tournament Aug. 10-11. Oddly enough, that streak ended after a two-set sweep of Mansfield Legacy.
With the win, the Lady Indians improved to 26-14 on the season and 9-4 in District 10-5A. Because of a Lake Ridge sweep Friday of (26-13, 9-4) Midlothian, Waxahachie now officially holds its fate in finishing as the third seed in the district standings.
The Lady Indians will need to defeat rival Red Oak at George W. Solis Gymnasium on Tuesday to do so, though. The Lady Hawks, who won the district championship with Friday's sweep of Summit, have won both meetings this season — a two-set sweep in tournament play and in five-set fashion at home on Sept. 29.
But, the Lady Indians were without the services of Audrey Nalls in both matches.
Nalls finished Friday's win with a team-high 24 kills on 50 swings. She also added a team-high 11 service points, four aces, and three blocks.
Essence Clerkley continued her strong play from the front row with 10 kills, while Courtney Crownover added seven. Taylor Stoops and Ragan Ward provided 34 and 10 assists, respectively.
Stoops also added nine service points, while Allison Wells chipped in seven and Anna Rodgers had six.
Baylee Whitehead accounted for 16 digs with just one error, and Ward added 12 more digs without an error. Nalls also had 11 digs, Rodgers and Wells recorded seven, and Sara Sims provided six.
Sims, Wells, Whitehead, and Nalls all recorded a 1.89 passer rating or higher, with Nalls topping out at 2.05.
With a 16th consecutive playoff berth already secured, the Lady Indians close out the regular season Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at home against Red Oak. A playoff opponent, time or location has not yet been decided.