Prior to last season, the volleyball program at Weatherford hadn’t won a playoff game in 16 years, and had never hit 40 wins in a single season.
But the Kangaroos continue to make history as they clinched a berth into the Class 6A Region I tournament for the second straight season following a sweep of District 4-6A champ Arlington Martin 25-20, 25-21, 25-23 on Tuesday night at— Burleson High School.
Weatherford (41-8), ranked No. 9 in the state, gets Southlake Carroll in the regional semifinals on Friday from Thomas Coliseum in Haltom City.
“It comes down to the girls just buying into my system,” said Weatherford coach Nicholas Gay, who’s in his second season. “Martin has some really dynamic hitters – some of the best we’ve seen in a while — and we knew if we kept them out of their system then we would have a chance to win.”
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Weatherford seemed in control from start to finish.
Georgia commit Londyn Gray and Texas A&M Corpus-Christi commit Carissa Barnes hammered two attempts past Martin to push the Roos to a 12-9 lead in the opening game.
Gray added a block shortly after to force Martin to call a timeout.
“The game plan coming in was to focus on defense because their offense was very strong,” Gray said. “We knew if we didn’t let the ball hit the floor without having a body on the floor then we could control this game.”
Following Martin’s second timeout, Megan Pool set up Francine Merchant for game point down the sideline to put Weatherford up a game.
Nya Blair and Northeastern commit Liz Carroll paced the Warriors (34-9) in the second as Blair registered two kills and a block that forced Gay to call time.
But the Roos tied it at 18-18 before Abbie Lane’s kill down the middle pushed them in front 21-19.
Weatherford started the third game up 7-1 to force a Martin timeout and junior libero Jordan Burks made a diving save that led to another point and 12-3 lead.
Martin didn’t go down quietly. A Carroll to Blair connection got them within 16-14, but Weatherford quickly responded after a kill from Jayla Schultz to win the match.
“We just worked well together,” Burks said. “Our defense really excelled and our offense was amazing tonight. Everything was just clicking for us.”
“It’s amazing to come out and set new standards for the program,” Pool added. “It’s a very exciting moment especially for the seniors to keep going.”
Southlake Carroll 3, Waxahachie 2
For the second straight Tuesday night, the Dragons outlasted one of the top teams in the state by taking down the Indians, No. 7 in the state, 26-24, 21-25, 22-25, 25-17, 15-11 from Martin High School.
The Dragons (38-9), who eliminated Hebron in bi-district, are headed to their fifth regional tournament in the past decade to take on Weatherford, 6 p.m. Friday at Thomas Coliseum.
“It was so intense,” senior setter and TCU commit McKenzie Nichols said. “It was some of the best competition we’ve played all season long. It feels so surreal.”
Birdville 3, Grapevine 1
The Hawks made history by taking down the Mustangs 25-23, 17-25, 25-23, 25-23 in the 5A Region I quarterfinals from Keller High School.
Birdville (40-7), which was swept 6-0 by Grapevine in district play, is going to the regional tourney for the first time in program history.
“It was awesome,” senior and Houston Baptist commit Kaley Feris said. “We played so well together and it really was a full team effort.”
The Hawks will get Amarillo (33-13) at 7:30 p.m. Friday from Lubbock Coronado.
Colleyville Heritage 3, Boswell 0
For the third straight year, the Panthers and Pioneers met in the 5A Region I quarterfinals and for the second season in a row, it was Heritage coming out victorious.
The Panthers (30-13) beat district foe Boswell 25-18, 25-20, 25-13 and heads to the regional tournament to face Canyon Randall (38-5), 6 p.m. Friday from Lubbock Coronado.
“The game was so much fun,” senior setter and UAB commit Grace Koper said. “We played so well and everyone was doing their jobs. They definitely challenged us, but we stayed calm and played our game. We’re all excited to be going back to the regional tournament.”