FAIRFIELD, Texas — The Lady Mustangs lost a combined four sets to one against Fairfield and Iola High Schools during the 22-team Fairfield Varsity Volleyball Tournament on Saturday at FHS Gymnasium.
Before the championship round, Life Waxahachie High School (4-2) had only lost two during a season-opening four-game win streak.
The (4-2) Lady Mustangs led by Head Coach Nancy Moore, senior outside hitter Giovanna Charles and junior setter Anna Woodard, pushed Fairfield's Lady Eagles to 25-20 first set, won the second 25-18 and nearly went the distance to win a 28-26 third.
Charles added 11 kills to Woodard's six, Madison Alexander and Laura Allen's respective three, and one from Aryn Lawrence. Junior Aubrey Barnes also scored a trio of aces during the near comeback.
Woodard added two more.
"The best thing that came out of those games is that they played together as a team," Moore said about the tournament. "When some struggled, they motivated them to push through. Some stepped up and had big moments. Their communication and the aspects of not giving up and staying focused while down will help not only against South Hills but also later in the season."
In the first match of the tournament's gold bracket championship round, Charles (18) and Woodard (8) led in kills and Woodard (24) and sophomore Sydnie Wooten (7) finished as Life Waxahachie's statistical leaders in assists.
Against Iola, Charles' arm and Woodard's crisp passing were again a factor. The duo accounted for 17 of the team's 23 kills and 16 of its 20 assists, helping points from seniors Jada Lacy, Stacia McKellum and Ariana Robinson, as well as Wooten, force the first set to a 25-22 finish.
The Lady Mustangs lost the second 25-18.
The pair of defeats snapped a hot start by Life Waxahachie after claiming victories against Kaufman (25-19, 25-22, 22-15) last Tuesday and Centerville (25-17, 25-20), Edgewood (25-13, 23-25, 25-10), and West (20-25, 25-15, 25-18) on Thursday.
Charles amassed a team-leading 77 kills and Woodard earned 152 assists during Life Waxahachie's six games. Robinson also had 27 digs through the tournament's last game.
Barnes has landed 13 aces in 16 sets played.
"The first day they were excited and weren't as tired as I thought they would've been given the early games," Moore said. "The length of the games — especially the Fairfield match going to three — took a lot out of them. They gave all they could and left it there. The endurance they'll need to win those long matches isn't there yet. It's getting there, though."
The Lady Mustangs will face Fort Worth South Hills High School (5-4) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at LWHS Gymnasium before competing in the three-day Glen Rose Tournament on Thursday.
Glen Rose is the No. 4 ranked 4A volleyball team in the state behind Bushland, Argyle and Liberty Hill High Schools. Life Waxahachie shares District 8-4A space with both Glen Rose and Midlothian Heritage High School, which won the Duncanville Tournament of Champions with a 25-20, 25-18 win over Frisco's Justin Wakeland on Saturday.
Wakeland's Wolverines were ranked seventh in the state in 5A before the tournament.
Marcus S. Marion is the sports editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light and Midlothian Mirror. He can be reached by phone at (469) 517-1456 or across social media platforms @MarcusSMarion.