Palestine Westwood Ousts Troup in Four + Advances to Face White Oak
LINDALE -- It had been more than a week since the Palestine Westwood Lady Panthers stepped on the court before Saturday's Class 2A Region III area-round playoff against Troup, and it showed early.
After coughing up a lead and dropping the opening set, Westwood won its next three, eliminating Troup with a 20-25, 25-9, 25-22, 25-20 victory on Saturday evening.
Westwood (31-8), champions of District 19-2A, advances to the regional quarterfinals where the Lady Panthers will face three-time defending regional champion White Oak. The match is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in Athens.
Troup finished the season at 24-17.
Westwood was led by Marialle Boles' 11 kills, five blocks and two aces. Courtney Stanhope and MiKayla Benson each provided 11 kills, while Heather Wooden and Neeli Hardison combined on 33 assists.
It looked as if Westwood would make quick work of the Lady Tigers in Game 1, building an early 10-4 lead. But Troup rallied for 13 of the set's next 18 points to take a 17-15 lead. Westwood cut it to 21-20, but Troup responded with the next four points to take the opener.
"We hadn't played in over a week really," Westwood coach Janae Evans said. "I kind of expected us to come out a little bit slow, but they pulled together and played an awesome Game 2. Defensively, that's probably the best we've looked all year."
Westwood completely dominated in the second game, building leads of 5-1 and 12-3 win, finishing the set on an 8-0 run.
The Lady Panthers battled back from an early deficit in Game 3 and eventually led 23-15 before Troup came storming back to cut the lead to 24-22. With the lead in the match at stake, Hardison set up a spike from Stanhope to give Westwood the match and a 2-1 lead in the match.
Troup was determined to send it to a decisive fifth game, taking a 17-13 lead midway through Game 4. But Westwood scored eight straight points to go up, 21-17, and eventually finish off Troup in four.
Chenney Cover paced the Lady Tigers with eight kills, two blocks and three aces. Josee Ross added seven kills, Paeton Nolan provided three kills and six aces and Hunter Jordan registered 18 assists to go along with a trio of aces.
Evans said White Oak will be a challenge, but believes her players are up for the task.
"Defensively, we're going to have to step up like we did in Game 2," she said. "I know (White Oak) is solid, but we're going to prepare the best we can and come out and play our hearts out."