Mansfield Lake Ridge proves too much for Lady Elks
ALVARADO - A year ago, Centennial learned how good a volleyball team Mansfield Lake Ridge has. Monday night, Burleson’s volleyball team found out the same thing.
Lake Ridge, led by sophomore outside hitter Madison Williams, ended the Lady Elks season with a 25-15, 25-14, 25-22 loss in a Class 5A Region II bi-district playoff game at Alvarado High School.
The loss halted the Lady Elks’ eight-match win streak that had propelled them into the playoffs as third-seed from District 9-5A. After finishing 10-4 in district play, Burleson ended its season with an overall record of 21-18.
“I’m really proud of them for the way they played this season,” Burleson coach D’Anna Newton said. “We finished third when we weren’t even expected to make the playoffs because we were such a young team. We went on an eight-match win streak in the second-half of district play. The district we play in the first round of the playoffs is really tough. Lake Ridge is a great team and I think they will go far this year.”
The Lady Elks never found a way to slow Williams, who finished with a game-high 15 kills. Freshman middle blocker/outside hitter Lyric Stewart registered six kills and senior right side hitter Lindsay Johnson had five kills.
The power of the Lady Eagles hits kept the Lady Elks scrambling all night, Newton said.
“I’m proud of the effort we gave tonight, but Lake Ridge is a good team and they hit strong all night,” Newton said. “We couldn’t defend their hitting and that’s where we struggled. They hit so hard, it got us out of system and we weren’t able to attack them.”
Things didn’t start well in the first game as Lake Ridge sophomore setter/right side hitter Logyn Hinds served the Lady Eagles to a 4-0 advantage. Hinds had two aces during the run.
The Lady Elks closed to within five points at 10-5, but the Lady Eagles went on a 9-4 streak to put things out of reach. Burleson helped Lake Ridge with seven errors in the game.
Burleson put up a fight early in Game 2, tying things at 7-7, but the Lady Elks suffered a blow when freshman setter Mia Smalls had to leave the game following an injury. Lake Ridge didn’t take kindly to the Lady Elks tying the game and put together a 18-7 scoring run to win take a 2-0 lead in the match.
With junior Madi Lewis at setter, the Lady Elks opened the third game strong, getting out to a 5-2 lead. Lewis got the ball to senior middle blocker Jailah Ivory, junior right side/middle blocker Kaitlyn Hammit, and sophomore outside hitter Ellie Strebeck for kills during the run.
The teams traded the lead numerous times during the game. The Lady Elks final lead came at 13-12 following back-to-back Lady Eagle errors.
Burleson seemed to find a rhythm in the third game, but could never regain the lead. With Lewis serving, the Lady Elks closed the gap 23-23, but the Lady Eagles scored the final two points to win the match.
“Lake Ridge is a really good team,” Newton said. “I feel like we gave it our all and fell short in a few areas. Mia got hurt in the second game and that really hurt us. Madi Lewis did a really good job stepping in for Mia.”
Freshman outside hitter Emily Rich paced Burleson with seven kills. Senior middle blocker Sarah Reid finished with six kills.
The match was the last one for seniors Reid, Ivory and defensive specialist Kirstie Gonterman.