Teams from West Texas had ended Aledo's volleyball playoff run each of the last four years.
It was so frustrating that Bearcats coach Kathy Goings looked it up one more time this week to remind herself how big the regional semifinal win over Amarillo was last Friday.
The Bearcats (40-5), who backed up that win with a regional final victory over Dumas, play Friendswood on Thursday in a Class 4A state semifinal in Garland. The match marks Aledo's first trip to the state tournament since 2001.
"It was huge, a huge win," said Goings of the Amarillo triumph. "The girls are living in the moment and taking it all in. They won't settle for anything but wins."
In a town where winning titles is becoming the theme, Aledo's volleyball program finds itself thrust into a final four with long odds.
Friendswood (42-4), making its fifth trip to state since 2002, brings an abundance of power hitting to the semifinal match.
Briana Sharratt and Sara Smith are Aledo's dynamic duo at the net, but get plenty of help.
Senior setter Mallory Powell's ball distribution will be key to Aledo's run to a possible state title. Powell had 1,210 assists in the regular season, and her intelligence with where to put the ball has been difficult to defend.
Goings said looking at the stat sheet after the Amarillo game was all anyone needed to know about Powell.
"We had four hitters in double digits [for kills], and she had 64 assists," Goings said. "That means she was putting the ball in the right place. She's an intelligent player."
The last time 2A Brock made it to state in 2005, the Eagles fell to Quitman in the semifinals. Coaching that Quitman team was current Brock coach Keith Guyon.
"We had a whole bunch of seniors that season and beat Brock," Guyon said. "I know for these girls, the goal has been to get back there and win. We've accomplished that, and now it's time to finish."
Brock (43-3) lost to semifinal opponent Holliday (35-6) in August, a match in which the Eagles had 44 errors.
Guyon said that not only is his team better this time around, but it's also concentrated on alleviating the problems that plagued it in its losses.
"You're not going to win many games when you give up half the points in errors," Guyon said. "What they've done is really have a next-point mentality and learned how to let it go and learn from it."
Brock is fueled this season by two heavy hitters. Amy Henard has 624 kills and a .424 hitting efficiency. When she's rotated to the back, Braylee Flaska has taken up the slack with 369 kills.
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