GARLAND — Rouse senior élan McCall feeds off the crowd, even if it’s not her own.
The senior led the team with 12 kills, 14 digs and a quartet of aces as the Raiders swept Aledo 3-0 (25-17, 27-25, 25-18) in the state semifinals Friday afternoon to advance to the first volleyball state final in school history.
“When their crowd is screaming at us, it just builds us and we get intense,” McCall said. “Especially in the final points of the second set (today) when the fans were screaming at us. We all enjoy intensity. That’s how we are tested.”
Ava Bell and Dani Cole each finished with eight kills while Katy Northcut had 14 digs, Grayson Schirpik added 12 and Reilly Heinrich had 11. Maddie Sheehan had 29 assists and nine digs along with six kills.
McCall won three of seven points to help Rouse get out to a 5-2 lead in the opening set. After Aledo rallied to tie, the Raiders went on their own run, winning eight of the final 16 points to win the set, capped off by a cross-court kill by Bell. They had 13 kills and just three errors in the opening set.
Rouse went on a run midway through the second set — helped by back-to-back aces by McCall. The teams traded points throughout the set until the TCU-bound senior scored the final three points to help win the back and forth affair.
“I expect that out of all of them,” Thomson said. “Unless it’s a terrible ball, they’re swinging. I guess it’s go big or go home. We have a lot of serving errors on the season, but we have just as many serving aces.”
The Raiders’ dominance continued in the third. After falling behind early, Rouse went on a 5-0 run midway through the set and never gave up the lead, deafeating Aledo to advance to the finals while picking up their 14th consecutive straight-set victory.
“You could kind of tell when they started to realize what our offense was looking like,” Sheehan said. “We set the goal at the end of last season that we have the talent to get to the state tournament and finishing that out would prove our hard work.”
Rouse will face off with Prosper, which swept Corpus Christi Tuloso-Midway Friday afternoon, at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Thompson can pick out the moment that helped motivate the Raiders the last two seasons. Since losing to Lake Travis in the first round of the playoffs in 2015, Rouse is 90-12 with two district titles, a regional final and now a state final appearance.
“We got back and we evaluated some things with how we coached the game,” he said. “We changed the way we focused on the game and they bought into the system. We’re a close-knit community. There’s such a family feel around the school that a (state title) would be joyous.”