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Avery Ousts Overton From Playoffs With Four-Set Victory

DAINGERFIELD — Behind their balanced scoring and net domination, the Avery Lady Bulldogs defeated the Overton Lady Mustangs, 25-16, 25-19, 22-25, 25-17, in the Class A Region III volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday night.

The Lady Bulldogs move on to face Iola in the regional tournament at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lobo Coliseum in Longview.

Avery senior outside hitter Whitney Kelsoe notched 18 kills and three assists, while Breanna Varley contributed 34 assists, three digs and two kills to lead the scoring attack. Taylor Bowles and Shelby Stanley backed the defensive front, combining for 15 blocks.

“I’ve got nine kids in our regular rotation that all have multiple skills and capabilities, that way we aren’t predictable and it generally works out for us,” Avery coach Robert Kelsoe said. “We’ve had some hard games this year where we’ve gotten down and had to come back. Overton came out pumped for Game 3, moving their best player to the back line. But we decided to shut that down in Game 4.”

Avery (36-7) was up two sets, and 12-8 in the third, when Overton coach Randy Smith called a timeout. He rallied the troops and the scrappy Lady Mustangs went on a 9-1 run, culminated by Savannah Bobbitt’s five assists, and Abby Mackey’s four kills. Avery’s Callie Adams reeled off three kills, but one kill each by Mackey and Nekia Chappell propelled the Lady Mustangs to the third-set victory and a second-life in the match.

In the first set, Avery took control early, starting out 13-7 behind Brittney Bates’ three kills and Varley’s nine assists. Overton made a late push, but two Bowles blocks thwarted any chance of a first set win by the Lady Mustangs.

It was Bowles again in the second set holding down the net with four blocks to go with four kills for Avery, but the Lady Mustangs didn’t go away. The combination of three Bobbitt-to-Mackey assist-to-kills kept the District 20-A champs close, but Avery finished on a 9-2 run and grabbed the 2-0 set advantage.

The fourth set was all Avery as Cynna Usery scooped four digs and Adams added three for an 8-2 opening run and never looked back.

“(Avery) was phenomenal tonight, and to be honest, we played about as good a game as we’ve played all year,” said Smith, whose Lady Mustangs finished 27-17 on the year. “We got contributions from so many kids tonight, and that’s all you can ask for. I came here four years ago, and this is the first class that I’ve had graduated that I had all through high school. They have been just phenomenal.”

Rounding out the scoring for the Lady Bulldogs were Adams with 10 kills, six digs and three assists, while Stanley, Bates and Bowles combined for 16 kills.

Overton’s Mackey finished with 16 kiils and two aces, while Bobbitt chipped in with 20 assists and nine digs. Both seniors were part of a class that never lost a district match in four years.

When asked what player shined for the Lady Bulldogs tonight, Kelsoe replied: “They all did.”

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