Though one streak came to an end Friday night for the Lady Indians on the volleyball court, a far more important one continued.
Waxahachie ran its winning streak to 13 and remains undefeated in District 7-6A after defeating Lake Ridge in four-sets, 25-14, 20-25, 25-16, 25-11.
Yes, the run of 12 consecutive sweeps ended for the Lady Indians on their home court in the second set. They had not previously dropped a set since Aug. 25. It was also just the 10th set lost this season and the first time for the 38-4 Lady Indians, who will earn at least a share of the district championship with a win at home Tuesday against DeSoto, to play four sets in one match this season.
"This is a special group,” said head coach Sandy Faussett, who has now taken a team to the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season in her 18 years at Waxahachie. “One thing that I am happy to see is that we are not coasting. We understand that we have a playoff spot and that it is not about that. It is about trying to get as good as we can in the next few weeks and that is what I am most excited about — the opportunity to go into playoffs and face some teams we have never had to face."
She added that losing the second set Friday, which ended the Lady Indians run of 37 consecutive sets won, was “something that we needed to experience and work through. Now, if we had not come back and recovered so well in the third and fourth set, then I probably wouldn't say that. But, in the long run, it was good for us to suffer a loss in the second set and learn to bounce back really well."
The Lady Indians net-defense limited University of Texas-commit Madi Williams to just 14 kills and forced her into 20 errors. As a team, the Lady Eagles recorded just 37 kills.
For Waxahachie, Audrey Nalls recorded 26 kills, while Courtney Crownover (9), Lacy Mott (5), Essence Clerkley (5) and Madison Babers (3) also all benefitted from 43 Ragan Ward assists.
Ward also led the Lady Indians with 10 service points (2 aces). Anna Rodgers supplied eight more points and three aces from the service line and Baylee Whitehead led the Lady Indians with four aces (7 service points). Alli Wells also added six service points to her team-high 17 digs.
Nalls collected her umpteenth double-double as a Lady Indian with 11 digs to pair with her match-high kills. She, Crownover and Clerkley all finished with two blocks.
The Lady Indians end the week No. 7 in the TGCA 6A poll and No. 11 in the USA Today Super25 national rankings.
After the Lady Indians cruised in the opening set, the Lady Eagles came out inspired to begin the second and carried that momentum deep into the game.
Faussett took a timeout late in the second set with the Lady Indians trailing, 20-17.
Madi Williams added to the Lake Ridge lead on the first serve out of the break and a Waxahachie error on the next rally had the Lady Indians downs five. It also moved Lake Ridge three points from handing the Lady Indians their first set loss of the district season.
Nalls then temporarily stopped the run with a kill from the back row, but Williams again scored for the Lady Eagles for a 23-18 lead.
Back-to-back Nalls kills — one rifled and one tipped over a block — forced a Lake Ridge timeout.
The breather worked, as the Lady Eagles won the set two serves later, 25-20.
"They have the hitters so that if they get a pass up, then they can cut around our block. But we expect that," Faussett said. "We expect that when their passing game is on, that they are going to take their blows just like we are going to take ours. We just have to match them. From my perspective, our timing was off. We just didn't get a lot of good swings on the ball.
"Going into the third set we talked about how the hitters were trying to compensate for the setters and the setters were trying to compensate for the hitters and when they are both making adjustments, it just doesn't work that way. Trust is what works."
Faussett added the emphasis between the second set and third set was to remind the girls to trust each other so they could return to running a quicker offense.
"We were running good plays, but the execution just wasn't there or how we typically run it. We just needed to clean that up and focus on spreading the offense out."
Lake Ridge took an early 5-2 lead in the third set, but the Lady Indians quickly rallied to lead 9-7 after a stellar Alli Wells dig led to a Nalls back-row kill.
The lead grew to 15-9 before Lake Ridge called a timeout.
It didn’t slow down the Lady Indians roll, though.
A little later in the set, an Essence Clerkley kill assisted by Ragan Ward forced a second Lady Eagle timeout and out with the Lady Indians up eight, 21-13.
Anna Rodgers floated in a pair of aces out of the break after a Nalls kill to push the Lady Indians to set-point, 24-13.
A few serves later, Clerkley put the third set away with a kill on a free ball. Waxahachie carried a 2-1 advantage into the fourth set.
With momentum squarely back on their side of the next, The Lady Indians closed out Lake Ridge rather easily in the fourth set, 25-11.
Clerkley recorded the set-point with a block.