High School Volleyball

Birdville volleyball regroups after early setback to drop Northwest in playoff opener

Birdville defeated Justin Northwest in four sets during Monday’s 5A Region I bi-district round at Timber Creek.
Birdville defeated Justin Northwest in four sets during Monday’s 5A Region I bi-district round at Timber Creek. bgosset@star-telegram.com

Jitters hit Birdville early on causing the Hawks to play tight during the opening set of their Class 5A Region I bi-district volleyball match against Justin Northwest at Timber Creek High School.

Once they started playing their game, they dominated on Monday night.

The Hawks dropped Game 1, but rebounded to take the match 23-25, 25-15, 25-14, 25-16 and advanced to the area round to play Tuesday’s winner between Fort Worth Eastern Hills and Burleson.

“We wanted this bad and I expected that turnaround,” Birdville coach Cynthia Rinehart said. “This team has played hard all year long and they’ve stepped up when we’ve faced challenges.”

The Texans (21-17) were down six points before cutting it in half to 18-15. Birdville called a timeout and Northwest would only score one more point.

“I’m so proud of them,” Rinehart. “This is a great group of kids.”

Feris finished with 12 kills and 16 digs. Maya Duckworth added 12 kills and Ashanti Frazier had five blocks. Tatemn Brown and Emily Gannon had 15 digs apiece. Gannon had a game-high 35 assists.

“We just changed our mindset,” senior hitter and Houston Baptist commit Kaley Feris said. “We never know when we’re done so we all play like it’s our last.”

Kaitlyn Sykes, committed to Arkansas at Fort Smith, blocked a kill attempt and was followed by a Feris kill to push Birdville’s lead to 14-8 in the fourth game. Sykes eight kills and three blocks.

The Hawks (38-7) got out to a 5-0 lead in the third after Emily Gannon registered a solo block. Northwest had to call its final timeout after Birdville took an 18-10 lead.

Morgan Andress set up Texas Woman’s commit Kori James for game point to give the Texans a 1-0 lead. Andress led the Texans with 32 assists and 13 digs while Daylee Doggett added 13 digs. Bailey Tompkins finished with a team-high 11 kills.

Byron Nelson 3, FM Marcus 1

The No. 1 Bobcats got a scare to open their postseason as the Marauders won the first set, but Nelson took home the 6A Region I bi-district championship 22-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-19.

Nelson (41-1) awaits Tuesday’s winner between Richardson Pearce and Lake Ridge.

LSU commit Paige Flickinger recorded 23 kills and 21 digs while Harding commit and a player of the week this season Kelli McKinnon added 11 and four blocks.

Charitie Luper had 15 kills, 20 digs and five blocks, and Gia Santini had a game-high 22 digs. Meredith Fusselman and Payton Chamberlain each had 29 assists.

The game featured sisters coaching against each other with Nelson’s Bri Barker and Marcus’ Danielle Barker. Their mom is legendary Amarillo coach Jan Barker.

Weatherford 3, Arlington Lamar 0

The Kangaroos quest toward a return trip to the Class 6A Region I tournament started off with a dominate bi-district performance against the Vikings 25-9, 25-13, 25-15 at Aledo High School.

Weatherford (38-8) awaits Tuesday’s winner between EP Montwood and Amarillo Tascosa.

Junior libero Jordan Burks had 17 digs to surpass 1,000 in her career. Carissa Barnes led with 12 kills and 15 digs while Londyn Gray added 8 and 5 blocks. Megan Pool recorded 18 assists and 10 digs.

Mansfield 3, Duncanville 0

The Tigers, led by DFW’s area kills leader Molly Phillips, had a no-doubter Monday night 25-17, 25-13, 25-11 at Arlington High School.

The 6-foot-5 Texas commit poured in a game-high 16 kills. Phillips leads the area with 751 this season.

Phillips hit .481 while freshman Brynn Williams added seven kills. Phillips also had five blocks and five aces while Mollie Blank registered three and a game-high 26 assists.

The Tigers (35-13) await Tuesday’s winner between Flower Mound and Denton Guyer.

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