Bullard Volleyball Sweeps Gilmer For No. 2 Seed In Class 4A Playoffs
GILMER -- Bullard had a lot to play for at the Lady Buckeyes' place Tuesday in its regular season finale.
A win would clinch second place in District 16-4A and a manageable opponent in the bi-district round of the Class 4A playoffs. A loss, however, would force a district tiebreaker game between Bullard and Chapel Hill with the loser taking on the No. 1 seed from District 15-5A.
Good news for the Lady Panthers. They made quick work out of a playoff-bound Gilmer team, 25-16, 25-14, 25-20.
"It means a lot to us," interim head coach L'Rynda Montgomery said. "We just want to win games. That's what we wanted to do, that's what we came to do and that's what we accomplished. It means everything to have, not a little more comfort, but just that we got this win against a good team. It's good for our morale and for our spirit."
Montgomery replaced Ben Belshaw midway through the district schedule. The former coach resigned on Oct. 7.
Gilmer settled for the No. 3 seed in the district. Spring Hill, a strong regional power, will enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed.
Chapel Hill rounds out playoff teams from the district as the fourth seed. Kilgore and Gladewater's seasons ended after Tuesday's games.
With close races for playoff seeding between District 16-4A and District 15-4A, the playoff match ups and scheduling were unclear Tuesday evening.
Montgomery expected to get a phone call late Tuesday or on Wednesday morning informing her of Bullard's playoff opponent. At that point, the coaches will coordinate when and where their match will take place.
Gilmer is in the same position.
"Normally, you wait," Montgomery said. "We'll get a call and figure it out. The district that we're up against, they went into tonight with a three-way tie as well. Tonight was a big night for both our districts. It'll just be a matter of us communicating and getting it set up."
The Lady Panthers (23-18, 6-4) didn't have many problems with Gilmer until the third game of the ultimate sweep.
Montgomery's squad led 21-16, but the Lady Buckeyes (16-22, 6-4) drew within 21-19 before falling with a late serving error, a hit out of bounds, a Reagan Whatley kill and Kennedy Key's game-ending ace.
Senior outside hitter and UT-Tyler commitment Mackenzie Fish left the match late with what appeared to be a lower leg injury, but it is not expected to keep her out of postseason action.
Fish, a team captain, scored 11 points in the match. Co-captain and setter Rachel Kelley dished out 12 assists.
"We couldn't do it without Rachel," Montgomery said. "She's our rock. She's the one that we go to. She touches the ball nearly every possession for us. Mikaela Goode, same thing. We need them and rely on them."
Gilmer was led by Maci Ritter's eight total points with the Lady Buckeyes' scoring spread nicely throughout the lineup.
Bullard gave up 17 points on mistakes. That's a decent number for a three-game, high school match.
Gilmer committed 27 various errors for Lady Panthers scores.
"We've been working really hard," Montgomery said. "We were in practice for a long time (Monday) just trying to get the little things figured out. Just trying to make sure we didn't get a lot of unforced errors. That's normally been our problem. We're just trying to figure out the best way to win games and I think tonight we proved we did that."