Lady Elks volleyball season halted by Birdville
WHITE SETTLEMENT - It’s hard to come away with positives following a season-ending loss.
Burleson volleyball coach D’Anna Newton was able to find a silver lining, after watching her team fall to Birdville, 25-19, 25-22, 20, in a Class 5A Region I area round playoff game at White Settlement Brewer.
“We are young and that is promising and exciting at the same time,” Newton said. “Birdville is good and I guess it’s a learning tool for us.”
A quick look reveals that of the 13 players on Lady Hawks (39-7) roster – seven are seniors, five are juniors and one is a freshman.
By comparison, Burleson’s roster has three seniors, five juniors, four sophomores, and a freshman.
Birdville’s experience showed at times Tuesday night as they played tough defense and continually made plays when needed.
“They are so scrappy,” Newton said. “When I thought we had gotten a kill they got it up. They are heavily experienced. We had the opportunities to take hold of it and go with it but at the end of the day they outplayed us at crucial times.”
The Lady Elks (31-10) have a lot to look forward to in the future. Burleson won the District 5-5A title with a mark of 13-1 and won 14 of their last fifteen matches.
“I thought we had it tonight but we weren’t able to finish and Birdville was able to finish,” Newton said.
All three sets were slugfests, with the teams trading blows.
In the first set, neither led by more than three points and it was tied eight times.
Birdville led 20-19 then went on a 5-0 run to finish off the set. The Lady Elks helped things along with three hitting errors during the run.
The second set was as tight as the first. Burleson led 12-7 after a kill by Emily Rich only to see Birdville fight back and tie things at 12-12.
With things tied at 22-22 after a Birdville service error, the Lady Elks had an opportunity to take the set following a kill by Rich that put them up 23-22. But Birdville’s Kaley Feris came up big with a kill and consecutive aces that gave the Lady Hawks a 25-22 win.
Burleson got off to a strong start in the third set building a 9-4 lead. The Lady Elks reached a high-water mark with a 15-13 lead. From the point, Birdville outscored Burleson, 12-5, to take the set and match.
“In the end, I’m proud of my team and the way that they played,” Newton said. “They fought back and didn’t give up when at times in the past they probably would have. I think we had a great year. We had the opportunities to take hold of things tonight but at the end of the day they outplayed us at crucial times.”
Rich finished the match with a team-high 16 kills. She also had three blocks and 14 digs. Mia Smalls registered 29 assists. Ellie Strebeck had eight kills, while Emily White finished with four kills and three blocks.
Maddie Gregory had three kills and two aces. Emma Dustin had 20 digs.