West completes undefeated run

October 30, 2008
By Kevin Hageland Staff Writer

PLANO -- Plano Senior had plenty of advantages heading into Tuesday’s match against Plano West: more to play for, home court and a packed side of the stands on White Out for Richie Herskowitz Night.

Those advantages didn’t translate on the scoreboard though as the Lady Wolves won their 10th district match, just as they had each of the previous nine n in straight sets.

This one came 25-15, 26-24, 25-23, as West finished its district-winning run at 10-0 while Plano Senior slid back into a District 8-5A tie for second place with Plano East at 6-4.

“I thought we played well, said West senior Michelle Harris, who had 18 digs. “We were really confident tonight, even in the tight situations.”

After leading by as many as six multiple times in the opener, West saw its early advantage cut to three points, 15-12, after a pair of hitting errors and a rotation violation. The Lady Wolves quickly got those three points back though as the Lady Wildcats were forced to call a timeout.

West continued to get its hitting groove back to go along with the serving of senior Laura Muth and defense of Harris. Those three elements combined to give the Lady Wolves a 22-13 lead. Game 1 would last just five points more points as West junior Rachael Bedell, who had eight kills, closed out the opener with a tip and block to make it 25-15.

That momentum seemed to carry into Game 2 as West senior Madie Jones dropped in a huge kill on the initial point as the Lady Wolves went on to open up an 8-5 lead. That advantage increased on each of the next two points as a kill from senior Haley Wessels, which went off Plano sophomore Maddy Haas’ head, and an ace from Jones made it 11-5.

“We were a little slow at times tonight,” said Jones, who had 18 kills. “But we really came out ready to play.”

The Lady Wildcats fell behind as they looked hesitant on both serve receive and in running their offense.

That trend wouldn’t last though as Haas and sophomore Kristen Robbins combined for a block that jumpstarted the home crowd. That block was quickly followed by junior Kenzie Thompson nearly crashing into the bench for a save, and another Plano block as the Lady Wildcats tied the game at 20-20 and forced a West timeout.

In addition to its improved play up front, Plano was aided by a continual string of digs from senior Danielle Manack.

Plano took its first lead from there, 21-20, but the ebbs and flows of Game 2 were just getting started as West would win the next four points to take a commanding 24-21 lead. The final point in that run came courtesy of a Wessels ace, but Plano fired right back with three points of its own to knot the score at 24-24.

The Lady Wildcats newfound momentum wouldn’t be enough to cost the Lady Wolves their first set of the district season though as West won the next two points to go up 2-0 heading into the third game.

“We fought well and were able to come from behind a couple of times,” said Jennifer Cron, Plano head coach. “But we had a few too many errors.”

Game 3 would also turn out to be the final set of the night as the Lady Wolves won their 30th straight district game.

A kill from West senior Lucy Zheng and a Herculean effort on a dig by Plano senior Paige Webb were among the highlights early in Game 3 as the intra-city rivals traded the first nine points. That trend continued until Bedell gave the Lady Wolves some separation with back-to-back kills that made it 9-6.

West’s advantage reached five points before a kill by Plano junior Caiti Wenger broke the string.

The Lady Wildcats pulled to within three points, at 12-9, after an ace from senior Carly Hoeler, but Bedell followed with a kill that brought the entirety of the Lady Wolves bench to its feet.

Plano would eventually tie the set, 23-23, but couldn’t take the lead as West finished the match, 25-23. The end came on back-to-back tips from Jones. Murphy had a game-high 33 assists to go along with five kills and eight digs.

Tuesday’s victory was especially monumental for Wessels, Harris and Bedell as it was their 100th career win with the Lady Wolves.

Cron said she will talk with Plano East head coach Marcy Crabtree today about how to break the two team’s tie. Both are headed to the playoffs, but seeds No. 2 and 3 have to be determined.

“I don’t know if these girls realize just how good they can be,” Cron said. “They have great capabilities, now it’s just a matter of timing.”

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