For the rest of the season the Waxahachie Lady Indians will see the absolute best each team has to offer as teams vie to knock Waxahachie out of the Texas Girls Coaches Association top-10 rankings.
No. 4 Waxahachie faced off against Mesquite Horn Friday in its final non-district game and the Lady Jaguars gave Waxahachie a fight before the Lady Indians prevailed in four, 25-15, 23-25, 25-16, 25-8.
The tough match was a bit of a surprise for Waxahachie as it previously swept Horn in two sets (25-10, 25-14) in tournament play.
“They definitely played better, they wanted to beat us as every team should and does,” Waxahachie senior captain Kate Praslicka said. “They also had two of their better players back who they did not have in the first game. We did not get to see the real Horn in the first game, but it was good for us that they gave us a challenge.”
The addition of two key players gave Horn the confidence it needed to compete with Waxahachie, but in the end the Lady Indians knew what to do as the fourth best Class 4A team in state.
“I actually like being ranked and having a little bit of pressure. We should be aware that everybody is out to get us and we talk about that all the time,” Waxahachie head coach Sandy Faussett said. “I don’t think it helped us that we played Horn in the past and handled them easily. I don’t think that is ever a good scenario going into a game, especially if you come out and are not on your best game.”
Waxahachie (26-3, 4-0) opened the match with a 1-0 lead before the first serve as Horn had problems with its lineup. The lead changed hands a couple times over the first three points before a Horn error gave Waxahachie a 4-3 lead.
Errors would continue to plague Horn in the opening set as Waxahachie did just enough for the win.
In the second set Waxahachie raced out to a 5-1 lead and took a 17-9 lead midway though before Horn rallied back by playing error-free.
Horn (4-17) used a 10-1 run to take a 19-18 lead before holding on to capture the second set.
“We said after the set loss we had a chance to regroup and that it was just a mental thing. We knew we were capable of winning,” Faussett said. “We have had great practices all week, we just were not playing at the same level we had been practicing at. We took a few minutes, regrouped and stopped making mistakes. We made little mistakes snowball into five mistakes. We just have to learn to let it go and move on.”
With Cara Partington at the service line the Lady Indians took a 5-3 lead in the third set and managed to hold off Horn the rest of the way. As the set came to a close Waxahachie started showing signs it was returning to form as it ended the set with five straight points including two aces by Praslicka.
“The last time we played Horn they were without their libero and she played great tonight for them. They were also missing No. 9 and she ended up being their go-to girl tonight. They really made us play. We came out kind of flat. We got a little bit better as the match went on before getting back into our groove in the final set,” Faussett said.
In the final set the Lady Indians took a 5-0 lead before racing out to a 13-1 advantage with seven consecutive service points by Kelsey Vincent.
Playing error-free, Waxahachie closed out the final set with a 12-7 scoring advantage for the four-set victory.
Praslicka had 15 kills and 18 assists to lead Waxahachie while she was 4-of-5 passing, recorded three aces and had six digs.
Lacie Tucker led the Lady Indians with 12 digs while going 26-of-29 on serve receive. Carly Hess had four kills, three aces and six digs while Kristen Foster had five kills and nine digs.
Sophie Stevens added seven kills to the Waxahachie attack, Courtney Miller five, while Vincent had four kills and a team-high five blocks. Partington had 15 assists and five digs.
Waxahachie returns to district play Tuesday against West Mesquite and is aware that each team it faces the rest of the season will be on a mission to knock off the No. 4 team in state.
“I think we are ready for it as long as everybody on the team is prepared to step on the floor and be ready for the other team’s best. I think we will always be fine,” Praslicka said.
Following Tuesday’s home game against West Mesquite the Lady Indians will play at Terrell Friday.