Lady Wildcats finish PISD sweep

November 5, 2008
By Kevin Hageland Staff Writer

COPPELL -- There were plenty of notable differences, but Plano Senior's path to bi-district victory was quite similar to Plano East’s Tuesday night at Coppell High School.

The Lady Wildcats faced a multi-point deficit, just like the Lady Panthers had in the opener of the doubleheader, before dominating the remainder of Game 1 en route to a 25-18, 25-11, 25-13 sweep of Duncanville.

The match was tied 13-13 midway through the opener before Duncanville surged ahead by taking three of the next four points.

That was when Plano called its first timeout and the Lady Wildcats immediately responded as the team took the next four points to force a Duncanville timeout. The Lady Panthers didn’t respond in quite the same fashion their opponents did as the Lady Wildcats continued to control play.

Plano won seven straight points on the serve of junior Kenzie Thompson, who had two aces in Game 1, to surge ahead 21-16. The finish to the run came on a combination block from senior Paige Webb and sophomore Maddy Haas.

“I think we went out there and just started to have fun,” Webb said. “We all got fired up emotionally [after a slow start] and emotions are one of the things that drive us, especially the seniors.”

Though Duncanville got a side out from there, Plano continued to dominate as the Lady Wildcats won two of their last three points courtesy of kills from junior Caiti Wenger. The last of that pair sealed the opener for Plano, 25-18.

Determined not to suffer the same fate in Game 2, Duncanville spurted out to a 5-2 lead. That surge was brief though as Plano responded with a 7-1 run that put the Lady Wildcats back in front, 9-6. The Lady Panthers broke the string with a huge kill from Tiara Iwegbu, but Duncanville was still unable to completely close its deficit.

The dueling chants between each team’s respective crowd grew bigger as the game went on, but so did Plano's lead as a pair of hitting errors and a Lady Wildcats winner put the score at 15-10 as Duncanville called a timeout.

Communication problems continued from there for the Lady Panthers as the service of Thompson was once again catalyst for a lengthy Lady Wildcats run. After Iwegbu’s kill brought Duncanville to within two points, Plano won 12 of the next 15 to open up a commanding 21-10 lead. Haas finished off the run with a kill.

Another mini-run was still on the horizon for Plano as the Lady Wildcats won four of the last five points to finish the set in front, 25-11. Senior Danielle Manack managed a service winner on the final point of the set as Plano closed on a 16-4 tear to take complete control of the match.

Duncanville won the first point of Game 3, but that would be their final advantage of the season as Plano's defense, led by continual digs from Manack and blocks from Wenger, kept the heat on the Lady Panthers.

It wasn’t all defense for Plano in the final game though as kills from Webb and an ace by Manack also played a part in the Lady Wildcats establishing a 9-2 cushion before Duncanville called a timeout. That stopped the clock for a minute, but nothing seemed able to stop the offensive onslaught of Webb in Game 3 as she notched a trio of kills, all from sets by senior Kiana Parks, to make it 13-3.

“The sets I was getting were awesome,” Webb said. “Kiana was really on fire tonight and all the credit for [what I did] should go to her.”

Webb left the match with her team in front 15-5. Duncanville showed signs of life after that as an ace from Annie Wagner cut the Lady Panthers deficit below double-digits.

Duncanville couldn’t get any closer than nine points though as their late comeback attempt was foiled by a pair of rotation violations.

Haas and senior Carly Hoeler kept the theme of defense in the final game rolling with a combo block that put Plano up, 23-10. The Lady Wildcats finished the match 25-13 as Hoeler ended the night for both teams with a kill.

The victory ensured that all four District 8-5A playoff teams captured bi-district sweeps on Tuesday night.

Next up for Plano is Southlake Carroll in the area round. A win would put the Lady Wildcats back in the regional quarterfinals for a second straight season.

“We need to stay ready and keep fighting in every match,” Webb said. “Our goal now is to take it farther than we went last year.”

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