MESQUITE – Last season the Waxahachie Lady Indians were eliminated from the bi-district playoffs by the Mesquite Poteet Lady Pirates after defeating the Lady Pirates in four sets during a dual-match early in the season.
Flip the schedule one year and things have turned completely around for both teams.
Tuesday night, Waxahachie traveled to Mesquite Poteet High School to play against Poteet and Mesquite Horn in a dual-match.
Poteet defeated the Lady Indians in three sets (25-20, 25-23, 25-12) in the opening match before Waxahachie defeated Horn in four sets (25-23. 25-18, 25-27, 25-19) to end the night in Mesquite for Waxahachie.
Last year Waxahachie defeated Poteet in four sets before falling to Horn in five. Could an early loss to Poteet be a sign of better things to come? Let’s hope so.
If Waxahachie advances to the playoffs from District 16-4A it will face a District 15-4A team in the opening round. Last season it was Poteet that the Lady Indians drew first.
Tuesday’s loss to Poteet is meaningless now, but if the two teams match up in the playoffs let’s hope the loss motivates Waxahachie to flip last year’s results completely.
In Tuesday’s game against Poteet, the first set was tied 10 times before the Lady Pirates pulled away late. Set two was tied five times while the lead changed four times.
Waxahachie rallied from a 7-0 deficit in set two to tie the game at 8 before rallying again down 19-14 to tie the game at 19.
“We are not staying focused on the court,” Waxahachie head coach Sandy Faussett said. “The level of play is great for 10 points and then we turn around and miss easy things. We had ball handling errors that we should never make, communication errors and things that should not be happening on the varsity level. I think it has to do with focus and intensity. We are just not bringing it to the court 100 percent of the time.”
McKenzie Gaither had six assists against Poteet with five digs. Kate Praslicka had eight assists, seven digs and seven kills. Stephanie Chambers added four assists.
Waxahachie took the court against Poteet with the same starting lineup it used to win three straight games in the Justin Northwest Tournament. The starting six were Chambers, Stevetia Turner, Lauren Wright, Gaither, Praslicka and Taylor Hinds. Meredith Backus was the team’s libero.
Wright led the team in digs with eight against Poteet while adding two kills. Backus had six digs while Jory Hamilton and Brooke Robinson each had three.
Robinson, a senior, has seen increased playing time over the last few games as her production on the court and high level of play has stood out to Faussett.
“During the course of the tournament we had some injuries and Brooke ended up in the starting lineup and performed really well,” Faussett said. “She is a consistent hitter and does a great job defensively. Something that she really helps us with that not everybody else does is she communicates really well. Her intensity is up there where I want it to be. She was able to come in and do well so she earned the spot.”
In the four-set win against Horn, Robinson continued a high level of play both statistically and emotionally.
She finished the game with 12 digs and five kills but it was her on court leadership and efforts to cheer teammates on that made the biggest difference as Horn attempted to rally to a victory.
Waxahachie fought tooth and nail to pick up the first set victory against Horn as the set was tied nine times and witnessed six lead changes.
Trailing 19-16, Waxahachie senior Chambers stepped to the service line. Chambers served five points in a row to give the Lady Indians a 21-19 lead. Horn rallied to tie the game before Waxahachie took a 22-21 lead with Robinson stepping to the line.
Steady and poised Robinson served two points for Waxahachie to give the team a 24-21 lead. Horn fought back but Waxahachie won the set by two, 25-23.
In set two Waxahachie took an early lead, 2-0, and never surrendered it again. A big part of keeping the lead was the teams play with Chambers at the line. Chambers was able to serve five points in a row to give Waxahachie a 14-6 lead midway through the set.
In an extremely close third set the teams tied 19 different times while the lead changed hands eight times. In the end Horn held on to a slight lead and won the set 27-25.
Focused and ready to leave Mesquite the Lady Indians took and early lead in set four against Horn and never looked back. With Praslicka at the line the Lady Indians scored two points from the opening serve and carried the lead the rest of the game.
Praslicka’s all around play continued as she had 16 assists, 12 digs, nine kills and three blocks against Horn. Gaither and Chambers each had five assists while Ashley Rosch had two. Chambers finished the game with three aces.
Backus led the team with 15 digs while Wright also reached double figures in digs with 11. Hinds led the team in kills with 11 and blocks with 4. Turner had four kills and two blocks.
Wright was 10-of-10 passing.
The split in Mesquite improved the Lady Indians record to 10-8 this season as they head into the Frisco Tournament on Friday. Pool play begins at 6 p.m. Friday against Greenhill. Bracket play begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Next week the Lady Indians play at Naaman Forest on Tuesday and at Lake Dallas on Friday.