When Rouse needed a boost, outside hitters Grayson Schipik and Emery Reid, and setter Kara Erfurth were there to provide a boost.
The Raiders beat Georgetown 3-2 (25-18, 25-17, 23-25, 20-25, 15-7) to advance to the regional tournament for the fourth straight year. They will face Friendswood in the regional semifinal Friday at 7 p.m.
“It was really intense and everybody was on their toes, but everybody had the perseverance to really push through,” Reid said. “We were a little defeated (after the second set), but we didn’t let it stop us because we’ve been in this situation before. We just kept pushing through.”
Rouse swept Bastrop in the first round and needed five sets to get past Kingwood Park on Friday night.
The Raiders beat the Eagles twice this season, once at Volleyfest and again before district play started on Sept. 6. Tuesday was the first time they dropped a set against Georgetown in three years.
“We’ve been tested a little bit more than Georgetown has been tested,” Thompson said. “Friday night was just like that. It wasn’t quite the two sets to zero, but it was just as intense. When we won the first two, you could tell the energy off and on the court (decreased).”
Schirpik finished the match with 27 kills, while Reid added 13, and Erfurth led the team with 48 assists.
Senior Madison Butler had six kills and a pair of blocks, senior Reilly Heinrich had 30 digs, freshman Kayla Lopez had four kills and a pair of aces, and sophomore Megan Schulz had four aces.
“We looked at stats at one of the timeouts and saw that both (Emery) and Grayson were really big numbers,” Thompson said. “The mismatch was there, and we took advantage of it. Kudos to Kara for setting them up and kudos to them for putting balls away when they needed to.”
Rouse got out to an early 6-1 lead in the first set and never gave up the lead. The Raiders pushed the lead to 15-8, and Schirpik finished with six kills and one ace to led Rouse.
That strong play continued into the second set. The Eagles fought to tie the set at 11-11, but Erfurth had three straight kills to get Rouse going and finished with six kills in the set.
The Raiders went back and forth down the stretch in the third set. Rouse senior Jenna Hanson nearly ran into the stands and saved a ball that eventually gave the Raiders a 20-19 lead, but the Eagles fought back to the tie things up at 23-23 and went on to complete the rally.
Georgetown went on a big run midway through the fourth set, winning 12 of 17 points to get out to a big lead. Rouse won a few points to get the lead under five, but the Eagles outlasted the rally.
Schirpik and Reid pounded on the Eagles in the fifth to help the Raiders get to the regional tournament yet again.
“It’s the same mentality we have all the time, that we’re going to go out swinging,” Schirpik said. “I told Kara that Emery is on fire and to keep feeding her the ball. Couldn’t have done it without everybody’s effort.
Two years ago, the current group of seniors were sophomores when the Raiders made it to the state championship. Rouse made it to to the regional tournament last year and faced a familiar opponent in Friendswood, falling in five sets.
“We’re going to empty the bank,” Schirpik said. “We know we’re going in as a unit, and I think that helps when our energy just builds and keeps building. That’s what helps us run away with it.”