MURPHY, Texas — The Lady Indians may have fallen first, but they didn't fall last.
Waxahachie High School (21-7) scored wins Friday and Saturday at the Plano Sports Authority Sports Complex after losing a day one rematch against Northwest Classic-foe Hebron High School.
"I think we played a little tentatively and not as aggressively as we have in the past," said Sandy Faussett, the WHS head volleyball coach, about finishing 3-3 against some of Texas' toughest opponents. "We played pretty good, but you have to be all in and play your best game of the tournament because that's what it dictates. There are no easy wins in tournaments like these and every team's a great team."
The Lady Indians lost (25-17, 25-15) to Hebron High School, claimed wins against Prosper (25-23, 25-22) and Pearce (25-19, 25-22) High Schools and fell to Keller (25-21, 25-18) High School during day one of the tournament. Prosper is currently the Texas Girls Coaches Association's No. 1 5A volleyball team and Pearce reached the 6A regional semifinal last season.
Keller (5-5) recorded a pair wins against Grapevine and Pearce High Schools this season and returned seven players from last season's 6A playoff team.
"The win against Prosper was huge," Faussett said. "They've knocked us out of the playoffs two of the last three years. It's the first time we've won against them. They're a rival in our region and a team we know we're going to have to go through to make it to the state tournament. There are a lot of good teams [in UIL 5A], and they're one of them. For us to play hard and be successful against them was a good mental hurdle for the girls to overcome and sets the stage for us to know we can be just as successful against other teams."
Though the Lady Indians split 23-25, 20-25 and 25-19, 30-28 and decisions against Plano Senior and Liberty High Schools, respectively, the team pushed two more talented volleyball programs to their limit.
During match No. 1 against Plano, another Northwest Classic rematch, junior setter Taylor Stoops (20) led in assists, senior outside hitter Madelyn Ward (8) and sophomore middle blocker Audrey Nalls (7) led in kills, and sophomore middle blocker Essence Clerkley (2) shared the blocks lead with Nalls.
Stoops added two serving aces and seniors Hannah Ramirez and Kendyll Armstrong chipped in 10 and three digs apiece.
In the match No. 2 victory— which marked the 700th win of Faussett's career — Ramirez (14), Nalls (12) and sophomore Alli Wells helped dig the Lady Indians out of a second-set hole and fend off a furious rally from the Lady Redhawks.
Faussett said a match that forced her girls to their collective limit was the test they needed before the 2016 volleyball tournament season came to a close.
"All in all, I think this tournament's going to help us down the road," Faussett said. "There were a lot of difficult pools and teams in this tournament. We came here for one reason — try to improve our game and compete at the highest level possible. I'm glad we got the monkey off our back, though. Now we can go win No. 701."
The Lady Indians were scheduled to play Coronado High School at 1 p.m. after press time. Results will be in Tuesday's Daily Light.