Tuesday night marked the final regular season game and senior night at Saginaw Chisholm Trail – the Rangers still in the playoff hunt with three other teams in District 6-5A.
The Rangers were in a three-way tie for the final playoff spot at 5-8 in district play with Haslet Eaton and Saginaw.
A win and losses by Eaton and Saginaw would give Chisholm Trail a playoff berth.
As scripted, the Rangers did just that with a 25-20, 25-20, 25-23 sweep over Azle while Eaton and Saginaw lost to Boswell and Aledo, giving Chisholm Trail its second playoff berth in program history, joining the 2013 squad.
“It was huge for this team and this program. They have worked very hard, starting in the summer, they put the work in,” said coach Janine Smith, who’s in her first year with the Rangers. “This team is an amazing group of kids and it’s very special for me, as a coach to be able to coach such wonderful kids and to see them work hard and to see them grow, that’s what it’s all about – to see them get better every single day and accomplish one of their goals and that was one of their goals from day one, to make it to the playoffs.”
In each set, the Rangers got out to big leads, only to see Azle fight back.
Chisholm Trail led the first set 10-2 before the Hornets came back to make it 11-8 after a kill from Jillian Boiles. The Rangers went back up 15-10 on back-to-back kills by Jennifer Gutierrez. Azle got within 20-18, but no closer.
“I told them, for a lot of the Azle kids, it’ll be the last time they play volleyball, so they’re going to give it a good fight, they’re not going to give it to you,” Smith said. “We did what we needed to do.”
Again, Azle got within 20-18 in the second set on a kill from Kynleigh Browne, but Katelyn Edwards gave Chisholm Trail a 2-0 lead with one of her seven kills.
The Hornets tried all they could to force another set, trailing 21-16 in the third before getting within 24-23 when Edwards slammed one home to complete the sweep.
Moriah Delgado had a team-high eight kills for the Rangers and Lexi Davis added seven. Gutierrez had 19 assists and Delgado and Destiny Delarosa each had 15 digs. Edwards added 10 digs and Allyson Pena had four aces.
“It feels great, I mean being a senior it’s been hard work the last four years to be able to be where we’re at this year,” Edwards said. “It feels amazing to be able to win my last game at home.”
Chisholm Trail will play 5-5A champ Denton Ryan in the bi-district round at Trophy Club Nelson on Nov. 1.