• Burleson’s Emily Rich, left, and Elliie Strebeck, right, celebrate a point during the Lady Elks District 5-5A volleyball victory Tuesday at Mansfield Legacy. The win moved Burleson into sole possession of second place. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE

Lady Elks alone in second after win at Mansfield Legacy

MANSFIELD — Holding a 12-11 lead in the fifth and deciding game Tuesday night, Burleson’s sophomore duo of setter Mia Smalls and outside hitter Emily Rich put their heads together to help the Lady Elks pull away at Mansfield Legacy.

Even with Rich playing in the back row, Smalls called her number for an attack. Rich delivered with a laser shot from the left side that hit just inside the right line.

“I was scared,” Rich said. “Mia told me she was going to get me the ball. I had to get away from the block so I hit it over there. I couldn’t see the line but I knew it was going to be close and I was thinking ‘please be in, please be in.’”

The Lady Elks were able to finish off the game with a Rich kill for a 19-25, 25-20, 25-16, 22-25, 15-13 District 5-5A win.

After her 30th kill of the night, Rich fell backwards to the court and celebrated.

“I was just glad the game was over,” Rich said. “That’s why I fell on the ground I was so tired. I was just so glad we won and it was over. That was a very stressful match.”

Burleson (22-9, 5-1) has won five consecutive district matches. The win moved Burleson into sole possession of second place with one match to play in the first half of district play.

The Lady Elks topped Everman, 25-17, 25-16, 25-23, Friday night. Burleson hosts Arlington Seguin Friday night and hosts district-leading Granbury Tuesday.

“Emily was amazing tonight,” Burleson coach D’Anna Newton said. “She helped us in every area tonight, defense, offense, serving. It was just an all-around perfect game from her. That back row attack was a momentum changer. I’m just so glad we were able to pull this one out.”

After dropping the opening game, Burleson roared back winning the next two thanks in part to play of Rich.

Then the Lady Elks had a lapse in play falling behind Legacy, 12-3, in the fourth game. Later trailing 16-8, Burleson found a second wind and was able to close to within 20-19. But the Lady Broncos used a 5-3 run to force a fifth game.

“There were just little things like in game four we didn’t do,” Newton said. “We took a mental timeout because we thought it was over and we had to dig our way out of the hole.”

Junior outside hitter Ellie Strebeck had a nice night with 17 kills. Smalls finished with 57 assists and 30 digs. Freshman libero Emma Dustin registered 38 digs in the win.

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