The Mansfield Summit volleyball team ended its season in the Region II semifinals last week, but there’s certainly no shame in losing to the two-time defending state champion.
Mansfield Lake Ridge bowed out in the quarterfinals, having lost to district rival Waxahachie in a tightly contested match.
And it was also another District 14-5A square off in the previous round.
Summit had fought Legacy in the quarterfinal round, getting past the Lady Broncos in three games.
In the semifinals against Lucas Lovejoy, Summit met its match, losing in three games.
The set-up with a defending champion is always an opportunity to have others take specific notice of your program in an upset situation.
“We were hoping to do that,” said Summit head coach Linda Alfaro. “We had high expectations. They were just too consistent and too strong with their ball-handling, defense and serve-receive. We just didn’t do it as well as they did.”
It was also Lovejoy that knocked Summit out of the postseason last year. But Summit found their serve-receive game was better this time around and their defensive effort was improved.
“But we just couldn’t put three together,” said Alfaro. “We should have won the second set. We had control from the beginning and let it go.”
Lovejoy took that set 26-24.
“I’m pleased with what we’ve done and hoped to push to five games or win more sets. You just hope to catch them on an off day but they were firing on all cylinders,” Alfaro said of Lovejoy.
Still, the coach was proud of the accomplishment and was excited to see elements you cannot coach all fall into place, such as chemistry and no drama.
“They were dedicated to their goals and what they wanted to do this season. It was disappointing but rewarding.”
After Lake Ridge disposed of Lindale, 3-1 in the Area round, the Lady Eagles met up with a familiar foe in Waxahachie in the Region II quarterfinals.
Lake Ridge dropped a heartbreaking decision in five games, 3-2.
It was the second time Lake Ridge had gone to five games with Waxahachie.
In reflection, Lake Ridge head coach Jessica Tyler knew the season was yet another building block for the young school.
“This season was a great season that laid the foundation for years to come,” she said. “These seniors have set a standard, having been the first seniors to complete all four years at Lake Ridge.”
The ups and downs of the season were all worth the effort, frustration and elation and Tyler said she couldn’t be more proud of her team.
“All a coach can ask for is for the girls to pull together as one and fight. And this year, the team did just that.”
For those moving on and those returning to the varsity program, promise abounds.
“I see bright things in all of their futures,” Tyler said, “whether it is back in the program next year or on making a difference in the world.”