Mansfield Lake Ridge has had a varsity volleyball team for just four seasons, but it finally knocked the third-round exit monkey off its back.
The Lady Eagles beat Midlothian, 3-1, in the area quarterfinals to advance to the fourth round for the first time in the school’s history.
“We wanted it,” said Lake Ridge head coach Jessica Tyler of the advancement to the area semifinals. “This is the type of team to keep pushing with a competitive spirit and drive.”
Lake Ridge then met up with perennial power Lovejoy on Friday to end its record-breaking run.
Lake Ridge ends the season at 36-15.
“We have been to the third round three times in the previous years,” Tyler said. “To be able to advance to the fourth round was an historical event in school history. This means a lot to me to see these girls reach the fourth round.
“I love that they were not satisfied with just making it to the fourth round,” Tyler added. “They wanted to compete to advance to state.”
In the Midlothian matchup, Lake Ridge lost the first set. The Lady Eagles had lost a starter earlier in the week and were on a different rotation, Tyler said.
But the second set saw the adaptation take hold and the Lady Eagles became more comfortable and aggressive in their hits.
Freshman Logyn Hinds stepped in and became a force for Lake Ridge en route to the win over Midlothian.
She filled a void after Josannah Vasquez was forced to watch the playoff match with crutches and a boot on her foot.
The Lady Eagles peaked at the right time, coming off a long pre-district tournament schedule.
After losing its district opener to Waxahachie, the team came back to take second place in a formidable district. Four teams from the district comprised the regional quarterfinals games.
The Lady Eagles will move on with the graduation of seniors Markenzie Benoit, Vasquez, Megan Herring and Elizabeth Williams.
“Seniors. These girls were freshmen when I came to Lake Ridge, and two of them have spent all four years with me,” Tyler said.
“It’s going to be hard to replace each one of them, but they have set a standard for the future Lady Eagles. They work hard each day, on and off the court. They have and had the drive to accomplish so many things in their four years at Lake Ridge. They have set an amazing foundation for Eagle volleyball for years to come,” Tyler said. “I’m so proud of the young women that these four have become.”
But the bright side is that players such as Hinds will be back and joined by returners such as standout Capri Davis, Alexis Praytor at libero, Madison Williams and Alysha Johnson.
“You will have a different group each year,” Tyler said. “This certain group of girls are fighters.”