For the first time as a Class 5A program, Southlake Carroll has reached the volleyball state tournament after a straight-set win Saturday afternoon over Colleyville Heritage 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 at Tiger Arena.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a dogfight,” said Carroll head coach Arthur Stanfield. “We knew [Colleyville Heritage] wasn’t going to quit, and we were going to have to go out and win it. We hung in there and kept fighting to get a win.”
Senior Katie Martin led the Dragons with 10 kills, and junior Madison Drescher followed up with nine of her own.
The first set featured five lead changes before Carroll (48-1) pulled away from an 11-11 tie while taking advantage of the Panthers’ uncharacteristic amount of errors. Heritage (43-6) had 21 hitting errors on top of five serving errors.
“When you make 26 errors, you can’t expect to win,” Heritage coach Jamie Siegel said. “These kids, they fight until the end and that’s all you can ever ask. We just didn’t have it today.”
Carroll’s defense continued to prevent any opportunities for Heritage in the second set. The Dragons built a double-digit lead late in the set at 21-11 behind the serving of sophomore Megan Porter’s three aces in the set. Porter finished with a game-high four aces and added five kills.
“Megan had a great game,” Stanfield said. “For a sophomore, she really stepped up in this kind of game.”
Senior Timarie Nymeyer, who finished with eight kills for the Dragons, knew her team had something special at the start of the season and was all smiles after leading her team to the state tournament.
“This feels incredible. Our leadership was great and everyone’s efforts were amazing,” Nymeyer said. “We always hoped to make it this far. We have a great coach who prepared us well and told us what we needed to do to win.”
Heritage gave Carroll a fight in the third set, forcing six lead changes, including tying the game 20-20. Drescher provided the finishing touch to the regional tournament with her game-winning kill.
Carroll has been to state before as a 4A team in 1998, only to lose to Dumas in the state championship game.
“It’s so hard to get to state in 5A because there are so many good teams,” Stanfield said. “To get to where this school has never gone, as rich in tradition as it is, and to never win a volleyball championship, it feels good.”
• Amarillo d. Granbury 25-15, 25-16, 25-14: The Pirates (41-6) fell to the Sandies (36-9) in a 4A regional final at Abilene Christian’s Moody Coliseum. Amarillo has won eight UIL state titles, most recently in 2009.
“Their height was definitely something that was a force,” Granbury coach Tammy Clark said. “We had a hard time generating our own offense and couldn’t swing the momentum our way. Amarillo did a great job.”