Lady Elks notch playoff win
FORT WORTH — Most everything went right for Burleson’s volleyball team Tuesday night.
The Lady Elks defeated Fort Worth Eastern Hills, 25-11, 25-11, 25-19, in a Class 5A Region I bi-district playoff match at Fort Worth’s Wilkerson-Grienes Activity Center.
It was the program’s first playoff victory since Nov. 4, 2014, when the Lady Elks topped Fort Worth Arlington in three sets on the same court. Burleson then lost to Grapevine in three sets in an area-round playoff match.
The Lady Elks (31-9) face Birdville (38-7) at 7:30 p.m. today at White Settlement Brewer. Burleson will be looking for its first area-round win since 2013 when it defeated Denton Guyer in four sets.
“It’s going to be tough with Birdville,” Burleson coach D’Anna Newton said. “We are going to have to be mentally ready and we only have one day to prepare. We watched them play last night and we know it is going to be a tough match. It is all going to come down to who comes to play.”
The teams met earlier this season at the Granbury Tournament with Birdville winning in two sets in a pool play match on Aug. 18.
The only blemish of the night for the Lady Elks was losing the coin flip for the night of the playoff match. Newton wanted to play on Friday night but lost the flip giving her team just one day to prepare for the Lady Hawks.
Tuesday night the Lady Elks won their 14th consecutive match. Burleson has won 17 of its last 18 matches. A win tonight would give Burleson 32 wins and tie Newton’s previous best win total at Burleson. In 2012, Newton’s second season at Burleson, the Lady Elks posted 32 wins. The next season, Burleson went 32-9 and came up one win short of the regional tournament.
In the first set Tuesday night. the Lady Elks started slowly but were able to build a 10-6 lead following a kill by sophomore outside hitter Emily Rich.
Sophomore setter Mia Smalls then served Burleson to a 13-6 lead. After dropping a point, Rich took over and reeled off five service points to put the Lady Elks up 19-7. Later, a Smalls kill gave the Lady Elks the win, 25-11.
In the second set, Smalls and junior middle blocker Maddie Gregory each had seven-point service runs as Burleson registered another, 25-11, win.
It seemed as if the Lady Elks would cruise to another win in the third set as they jumped out to a 12-3.
But the Lady Highlanders (16-23) showed some fight as Allarea Sommers fired off a pair of service aces to cut the lead to 13-10.
It was the high-water mark for Eastern Hills in the sets. The Lady Highlanders closed to within four points at 16-12 but could get no closer.
“In that last set we kind of took a mental timeout but we were still able to get it done in three,” Newton said. “Eastern Hills had a few good hitters and they could put the ball down. They were scrappy and didn’t let many balls hit the ground. They were very athletic.”