Ragan Ward broke a second assists record to help the Waxahachie Lady Indians defeated Richardson in the 6A Region I bi-district round of the volleyball playoffs Tuesday night.
Though the 25-18, 25-15, 25-21 victory was not quite as dominant as head volleyball coach Sandy Faussett would've like, she stuck by the adage that a win is still win and they all count the same in the postseason.
"To be honest, we did not play very well. We just didn't play the way we are capable of playing and it is going to take a whole lot more than that to continue on this playoff run," Faussett said on the court while checking to see who their second-round opponent might be. "I am happy that we won, but we are better than that and we need to perform better than that when it comes down to it."
Faussett's sentiment remains true to her assessment of what was to be expected in the postseason before Waxahachie ever embarked. After the Lady Indians clinched the district title two weeks ago with a four-set win against Mansfield High, she explained that "everyone is going to have what we have [talent-wise] so it is going to come down to playing the best defense and making sure that you cover every ball."
"When it comes down to it in the playoffs, it is not going to be the big things," Faussett continued. "It is going to be all of the little things. It's the detail part of the game that you have to be focused on, because if you don't cover, it's going to mean something. Or if you miss an easy serve or miss a blocking assignment, all of those little things that you might get away with early in the season, you are not going to get away with in the playoffs."
The Lady Indians soon found out their area-round opposition would be (39-10) Coppell, who knocked Keller out of the playoffs in four sets Tuesday.
The Cowgirls previously defeated the Lady Indians (20-25, 25-17. 17-25) in the Mansfield ISD tournament on Aug. 11.
Madison Gilliland (No.5 ) leads Coppell with 436 kills on the season and 164 total blocks, while Stella Yan (No. 15) has supplied 1,381 assists.
Maci Watrous is the standout defender on the back row for the Cowgirls with 674 digs.
According to MaxPreps, Gilliland accounts for 24.8 percent of the Cowgirls kills, compared the 43.8 percent of kills attributed to Waxahachie outside hitter Audrey Nalls (684 kills).
Pierce Woodall (No. 7, 421 kills), Amarachi Osuji (No. 8, 398 kills) and Peyton Minyard (No. 4, 234 kills) also contribute to the Cowgirls attack.
Waxahachie leads the overall record against common opponents this season with an 11-1 mark compared to the 8-6 record posted by Coppell. The lone loss for the Lady Indians came against Byron Nelson (2-0) on Aug. 19, who the Cowgirls swept (3-0) on Aug. 28.
Coppell also lost matches to Mansfield High (2-1, Aug. 17), Amarillo (2-1, Aug. 18), Hebron (3-0, Oct. 5) and Flower Mound (3-1, Oct. 16).
Ward entered the match Tuesday just six assists shy of breaking the Lady Indians single-season assists record. She blew right by that number with a match-high 36 and now has 1,190 assists on the season.
Audrey Nalls terminated 20 of those Ward assists. The senior also finished 10-for-11 on serves received and recorded two aces.
After the match, Faussett applauded the play of Lacy Mott, who finished with six kills, three digs and one stuff block.
"I thought Lacy Mott really did a great job tonight. I thought she stepped up and played outstanding," Faussett added.
Courtney Crownover added nine kills and six digs, while Essence Clerkley and Madison Babers both had six kills.
Alli Wells led the Lady Indians with 11 digs.
Waxahachie moved up to No. 9 in the USA Today Super25 national poll this week and remained locked in at No. 7 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association 6A poll.
The Lady Indians improved to 43-4 on the year, which is a new program record for wins in a single season, and advanced to the 6A Region I area championship to face Coppell at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Mansfield Legacy High School, located at 1263 N Main St. in Mansfield.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.
The winner faces either Lake Highlands or Southlake Carroll in the regional quarterfinals next week.
Fred Phipps/Daily Light contributed to this report.