Keller Timber Creek - fresh off a second-place finish in the 42-team Richardson Berkner tournament - started off great with the win in the first set Tuesday at home against Haslet Eaton.
The Falcons looked primed to pick up another win, but had to work for it.
Eaton won Game 2 and 3 before Timber Creek rallied to win in five, 25-22, 19-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-11.
“We learn to fight back and persevere,” said senior setter Kenna Muff, a Texas Woman’s commit who’s last week’s Star-Telegram volleyball player of the week. “When the other team starts to build, we do a really good job of knocking them down and keeping the energy on our side.”
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Timber Creek (13-6) won the opening set after getting back-to-back blocks by sophomores Ana Mudd and Sydney Sherlock, but the Eagles (10-11) came back to take a 2-1 lead after Game 3.
“Game 1 we came out strong and I think we caught them off guard,” Timber Creek coach Erin Wood said. “Game 2 and 3, they ran their middles a little quicker than we had anticipated and we didn’t make our adjustments fast enough.”
The Falcons grabbed a nice lead in the fourth set, but Eaton came back to get within 15-14 after a kill by senior Lindsey Ferkel. But Timber Creek got up 18-15 with a kill by Sherlock and the Eagles couldn’t recover.
“Right before Game 4, I told them how capable they are and I’ve been trying to do a really good job this season on letting them know that I trust them,” Wood said.
In the fifth set, Timber Creek started on fire with an 11-3 lead. Eaton rallied to get within 12-8 and broke three match points before the Falcons pushed through.
“Set 4 was a good tone setter,” Muff said. “It brought us into Set 5 and kept us going.”
“We’ve had a lot of long games this season,” Wood added. “They know how to handle that pressure.”
The top-four teams in the latest Star-Telegram area rankings picked up wins, highlighted by Byron Nelson’s four-setter against Arlington, 25-20, 25-18, 21-25, 26-24. The Bobcats (17-2) remain No. 1 in the area, No. 4 in the state for Class 6A. The Colts (13-8) came in No. 5.
No. 2 Southlake Carroll (14-3), which is also the No. 7 Class 6A team in the state, defeated cross-town Grapevine 19-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-19. The Mustangs entered No. 15 in the state for Class 5A.
No. 3 Weatherford (15-4), No. 10 in the 6A state poll, and No. 4 Arlington Martin (16-4) both earned sweeps against Burleson and Mansfield Legacy.
Other area teams that swept on Tuesday night: KELLER vs. Highland Park; NORTHWEST vs. Summit; NOLAN CATHOLIC vs. Irving; BOSWELL vs. Argyle; GRANBURY vs. Euless Trinity; LAKE RIDGE vs. Arlington Seguin; MIDLOTHIAN HERITAGE vs. Grandview; WESTERN HILLS vs. Diamond-Hill Jarvis; COLLEYVILLE HERITAGE vs. Frisco Centennial; FOSSIL RIDGE vs. Timberview; PASCHAL vs. Haltom; BIRDVILLE vs. Saginaw; SOUTHWEST vs. Eastern Hills; CLEBURNE vs. Duncanville.
Notable stats: Kaley Feris (Birdville) 10 kills; Cameron Clark (Birdville) 5 aces; Tatemn Brown (Birdville) 23 digs; Libby Hutyra (Birdville) 17 assists; Emily Gannon (Birdville) 15 assists; Katie Nance (Paschal) 12 kills; Maggie Hurst (Paschal) 13 assists; Camille LaGroue (Nolan Catholic) 10 kills; Lauren Evans (Colleyville) 12 kills; Ashley McKillop (Colleyville) 12 kills; Grace Koper (Colleyville) 38 assists; Jillian Dits (Colleyville) 22 digs; Hannah Boyd (Boswell) 15 kills; Kylie Courtney (Boswell) 34 assists; Casey Smith (Boswell) 12 digs; Payton Bell (Granbury) 9 kills; McKenzie Scott (Granbury) 17 assists; Mandy Withey (Granbury) 4 blocks; Bailey Tompkins (Northwest) 13 kills; Kori James (Northwest) 11 kills; Analise Lucio (Northwest) 17 assists; Jewell Pavlakovic (Northwest) 20 digs.