Natalie Duffield raced to the back corner to save one of the final points of Vandegrift’s regular-season finale and Simone Priebe hit the ball over at a crazy angle to help secure the point and, ultimately, the win.
It was the penultimate point of the Lady Vipers’ 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-23) sweep of Westlake at home Tuesday night. The teams shared the district title after finishing the district schedule with identical 10-2 records, but Vandegrift gets the No. 1 seed via tiebreaker.
“Having that be one of my last points in this gym is really motivating,” Priebe said. “I was on fire and I was so excited. It was a tough match in the first round and we wanted to beat them again. I’m so pumped and I’m so proud of everything.”
Vandegrift handed Westlake its only other loss during the district schedule, winning the final three sets to beat the Lady Chaparrals 3-2 (28-30, 11-25, 25-15, 25-23, 15-7) on the road on Sept. 29.
“Westlake is so strong. They have so many hitters and they’re huge,” Vandegrift head coach Melissa Southall said. “Coming out and beating them was big and then the fact that it was in three sets was big. It’s a confidence booster going into playoffs.”
Priebe was second on the team with 13 kills and led the team with eight digs and two blocks. Ryan Palmieri led the way with 23 kills on the night and. Annie Stadhaus had seven digs, Delaney Dilfer finished with 20 assists while Duffield chipped in with 19.
A kill from Dilfer, a block by Stadhaus, a point by Palmieri, and an ace by Priebe gave Vandegrift four straight points to start the match. Westlake would claw its way back into the set and cut the lead to two points, but the Lady Vipers held on for a 25-22 win.
The second set was even until Westlake took a two-point lead. Vandegrift called two quick timeouts and rallied, winning seven of the final nine points to take the second set 25-23.
“We were letting them go on too many long runs,” Southall said. “It was a momentum breaker and reminding them that we have the first opportunity on offense. We just needed to minimize our errors.”
The third set was more of the same. Any sell Westlake run was met with an equal flurry from the Lady Vipers. But home court advantage took over as the student section drowned out the traveling Westlake fans and Vandegrift finished off the sweep.
The playoffs begin with the bi-district round on Oct. 30 and 31 and continue with the area round from Nov. 2-4. The state tournament is from Nov. 15-18 at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, just northeast of Dallas.
“The quality of people stands out,” Priebe said after her final regular season home game. “The players I got to play with and we the quality coaches we have. Everyone is so loving and great. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad experience in this gym or with this team.”
No. 1 Rouse 3, No. 22 Cedar Park 0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-18)
The Lady Raiders finish the regular season 44-3 overall and polish off an undefeated district title, going 16-0. The Lady Timberwolves finish 29-17 overall and 11-5 in district play, tied for second with Cedar Creek. Both teams begin the playoffs next week.
Burnet 3, Glenn 1
The Lady Grizzlies finished the regular season 18-27 overall and 7-5 in District 19-4A. They begin the playoffs next week, the first team to make the postseason in school history.
Vista Ridge 3, Lehman 0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-13)
The Lady Rangers end the year 2-10 and in District 25-6A and 6-35 overall.