Mentum: Lady Eagles' Mo disappears in loss to Lady Wolves
ALLEN - There have been plenty of momentum changes during Allen-Plano West volleyball matches the last couple years.
But even with that, it was tough to anticipate Tuesday night's swing.
The Lady Eagles (0-2 in District 8-5A) appeared to have all the momentum following a come-from-behind victory in Game 2, but that quickly dissipated in Game 3 as the Lady Wolves (2-0) posted the most lopsided game in an eventual four-set win (25-22, 22-25, 25-14, 25-18).
"We didn't jump out in Game 1," said Brittany Bridge, West head coach. "We were slow and not talking well and just got lucky on a few points to get the win. Same in Game 2 except we didn't get lucky on those same points and we lost. We weren't playing with any urgency or any energy and I told them if they did that again in Game 3 there was going to be a penalty."
The Lady Wolves established a 20-9 advantage behind solid passing by senior Abigail Curry, who had 23 assists, and kills from senior Katie Stebbins, who had 14 put downs. And then there was senior Brooke Coleman, who posted a triple double with 15 kills, 16 assists and 20 digs.
"Brooke played awesome tonight," Bridge said.
Allen head coach Kelley Gregoriew was less enthusiastic about Game 3, which her team dropped, 25-14, following a kill from Stebbins.
"The mental game is something we have battled with all season," she said. "I'm not sure if that's what happened in Game 3 or what because we started to fade; we hit a flat spot and our swings were not as efficient as the first two games."
The Lady Eagles were significantly sharper with their connections in Game 4 and that resulted in an 11-7 lead following a slew of kills from sophomores Sheridan Ralston and Kaitlyn Blake. That lead wouldn't stand up though as the Lady Wolves went on a 7-0 run by abusing the Allen block.
A kill from Coleman gave West a 12-11 lead it wouldn't relinquish.
The Lady Wolves extended that advantage, eventually reaching 22-16 off an ace by senior Shane Peters, who also had 26 digs, a kill on the slide from senior Julia DeVinney and a kill by Coleman. Following two Lady Eagles' errors, West wrapped up the match, 25-18, on a kill by junior Kelly Bennett.
"We were more disciplined in Game 4," Gregoriew said. "And really, I thought we played well, except for Game 3, and the match could have gone either way."
That was apparent in Games 1 and 2.
Allen set the tone and took a 10-8 lead in the opener, gaining momentum off kills from junior Camryn Freiberg and an ace by senior Madison Lee. But West drew even at 10-10 following a block from Curry and the teams traded the lead throughout the teens despite the Lady Eagles controlling the net with Freiberg and freshman Chandler Atwood.
"Our blocking was awful in Game 1," Bridge said. "We don't necessarily need a block every time, but we need our blockers to take away an area of the court and they didn't do that in Game 1."
The Lady Wolves took control in the 20s following tips from Curry and Coleman with the finish coming at 25-22 off a kill by junior Morgan MacGilvary.
MacGilvary, who had 10 kills, was West's go-to offensive weapon in Game 2.
The Lady Wolves used MacGilvary as well as sophomore Camryn Vecera, who had 14 digs and led a much-improved defense, to establish an 18-14 lead.
"It was simple," Bridge said. "Better blocking led to better defense."
West's lead didn't hold up as multiple errors drew Allen even at 19-19.
"We had way too many errors tonight," Bridge said. "That's something that has been a problem at times and it allows other teams to stay in games."
The Lady Wolves faltered to allow the tie, but the Lady Eagles did the work in the 20s with a sequence that featured a kill by Ralston, kill by Blake, ace from senior Kelly Holden and block by junior Hannah Fry to establish a 23-21 lead. Allen kept the pressure on from there, finishing out a 25-22 win with a Lee/Fry combo block and kill by Lee.
That evened the match, but the Lady Eagles' momentum wouldn't carry over into the next two games of a 3-1 loss.
West and Allen now find themselves at opposite ends of the District 10-5A standings.
"Being 2-0 is huge for us and maybe we are a little ahead of where we thought we would be at this point," Bridge said, "but we have to keep improving in each match regardless of who we play."
Next up for West is a 6 p.m. home match Friday against McKinney. Allen is on the road against McKinney Boyd at the same time.
"Right now we can't worry about what has already happened," Gregoriew said. "Every match is its own thing and we've got Boyd on Friday, so we need to focus on them."