KELLER -- Aledo earned a trip to Abilene and the Class 4A Region I tournament with a resounding 25-12, 25-19, 25-23 regional quarterfinal win Tuesday over Trophy Club Nelson at Keller Central High School.
The last time Aledo (38-5) advanced to the state volleyball tournament was 2001, when the program was still competing in Class 3A.
In the years since, coach Kathy Goings said, it's been a loss to a Panhandle team that has often doomed Aledo's march.
"We've either lost in the regional semis or the final every year in Class 4A," she said.
"If we're going to change that, it's going to be at the net like tonight."
Aledo's Briana Sharratt and Emily Clayton each had three blocks and several stops at the net to thwart the power hitting game of Nelson's Haley Tippett.
It was the difference that Aledo needed to combat Nelson's (33-12) methodical approach.
"We had to change our defense tonight to account for that kind of hitting," Goings said. "It's no secret that when they get going, it snowballs and it's hard to stop."
That was evident in set three where Aledo not only fell behind by as many as four points two times, but seemed to lose a step and some dominance as Nelson made adjustments.
Tippett began to work down the net at an awkward angle and that opened up the middle for Elizabeth Pennington, who had six kills and a block in set three.
But Aledo proved too much in the end, as Raygan McClelland helped serve her team back to 21-21 tie with two aces.
Aledo won eight of the final 10 points to put the match away.
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