In Postseason Form: Lady Broncos batter West in regional rubber match
GARLAND -- There's plenty of familiarity between the Plano West and McKinney Boyd volleyball teams.
Despite having already met twice this season during District 10-5A play and splitting those two matches, Tuesday's Region II quarterfinal from the Curtis Culwell Center proved to be the most decisive outing in the series -- won by the Lady Broncos in three sets (25-11, 26-24, 25-12).
"It's always great to beat a district opponent," said Kelly Quinn, Boyd head coach. "The team came out and played very composed; they're playing older than they are right now. They've been in so many playoff matches so they're definitely a seasoned team and it showed."
That experience paid dividends against a West squad unfamiliar with the postseason's third round. The end result was Boyd dealing the Lady Wolves two of their most lopsided set losses of the season in the first and third frames.
"We really didn't show up to play tonight," said Brittany Bridge, West head coach. "Defensively, we didn't play like we normally play. Our game is about digging up balls and letting the other team make mistakes, and we couldn't even put digs together tonight."
That was especially apparent in the third set, where Boyd out-killed West, 14-3. Keeping in line with a theme from the previous two sets, the Lady Broncos were quick to assert themselves by establishing an early 9-1 lead.
Seniors Megan Mollet and Krista Bukovec each procured more third-set kills than the Lady Wolves as a team, tallying four apiece. Mollet led all hitters with 14 kills on the night while Bukovec chipped in nine and senior Kelly Koop added six.
"I was pretty surprised," Quinn said. "I think that's a testament to how strong we're coming on right now. Hats off to our girls for not giving [West] a chance to get into a rhythm."
West didn't muster a kill until the set's 21st point, courtesy of senior Brooke Coleman who finished with five on the night.
Despite Coleman's attack trimming the Lady Wolves' deficit to 13-8, the Lady Broncos strung together a 12-4 run to round out the set with two kills by junior Lauren Petrisin capping the sweep.
"This team is so focused right now," Quinn said. "We've shortened our practices a bit so they've got energy and you can tell there's a different vibe with this team right now."
The Lady Broncos established a similar rhythm in the first set, opening up a 10-3 advantage after junior Tori Turck posted her second ace of the frame. She would account for two of Boyd's four aces in the opening set, while Mollet and senior Emma Meyer provided a spark on the blocking front to keep the West hitters at bay.
In addition to her match-high kills mark, Mollett provided 4.5 blocks with Meyer posting 2.5. The two were part of a 7-1 Boyd run to close out the set and take a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Wolves had more success on the offensive in the second set, matching Boyd with 13 kills. Senior Julia DeVinny, who led West with six kills, posted four in the second set including the kill that gave the Lady Wolves their first lead of the night at 10-9.
West would claim just one more lead at 11-10 following another DeVinny kill but would only be able to settle for five more ties after the fact. Tied as late as 24-24, the Lady Broncos closed out the set with a West attack error and a Koop kill to dash West's strongest push of the night.
"We served a little tougher and took them out of system which gave us some easier balls to dig up," Bridge said. "We just didn't make as many mistakes in the second game, which is how we've played all year."
In victory, the Lady Broncos are bound for the Region II semifinals for the third consecutive season where they'll meet The Woodlands Friday at 6 p.m. from Sam Houston State University.
The Lady Wolves' season comes to a close after stringing together their longest playoff run since 2008.
"I feel like my senior class has really led this year in a classy way," Bridge said. "... I think tonight it just wasn't in the cards for us and that happens, but I'm still proud of the team and the season."