Pine Tree Volleyball Rallies, Takes Down Longview
LONGVIEW -- Lobo Coliseum is one of those gems in East Texas with history and a sustained environment to go along with it. Longview's home court has seen some of the best basketball teams in the state over the years, and now it's home to a very dangerous volleyball team.
On a floor lit up with professional arena caliber lights, surrounded by extremely dark concourses filled with a two-party crowd and drowned out by an overpowering sound system, No. 17 Pine Tree learned what it means to survive on the road.
The Lady Pirates overcame a worst-case scenario start to down Longview in an important District 15-5A meeting, 12-25, 29-27, 25-19, 25-21.
"To have a shot to win district, we had to win tonight," Pine Tree head coach Carolee Musick said. "Or else we would have been a long-shot to win district. Winning district, of course, sets you up to play a fourth-place team from another district in the first round. My hope is to put us in the best situation to be successful in the playoffs."
Musick's team drew an awful matchup to keep the run for a local title alive. The Lady Lobos, 8-4 in district, have been on the rise since taking down Hallsville -- the once clear cut favorite to win the district -- two weeks ago.
Longview proved it was up to the task of taking down another regional giant. It shocked its crosstown rival with a 16-3 run to open the match and cruised to an easy win in the first game. Pine Tree had burned both its timeouts to talk over its start midway through the set and were still unable to answer the hard drives by Lady Lobos headliners Hallee Brewer and Kaitlyn Adams.
A completely different team took the floor for the second game, but Longview was still playing near its peak potential with a vocal audience behind it.
Pine Tree, 10-2 in the league, scored 16 points and was aided by a rather average nine Longview errors to take a 25-24 advantage. It also cut its own errors down from 15 in the first game to eight in the second frame. The Lady Lobos still managed to tie the game at 25-25.
There were three lead changes beyond the draw at 25. Senior middle hitter Sky Holmes broke a tie at 27 and a Longview hit out of bounds evened the overall match.
Pine Tree's opponent's intensity level didn't drop, but Holmes began to take over the match offensively while the defense took its play to a different level.
Holmes led the Lady Pirates with 10 kills and five blocks after being shut out in the first game and the team edged Longview with wins of 25-19 and 25-21 in the third and fourth games to win the match.
The crosstown rivalry ended with a block by Brewer that was returned hard enough to fly beyond the back end of Pine Tree's side of the court.
"I think at the beginning of the game we were a little shaky," Holmes said. "A little nervous. We came together as a team. Usually, when we're down, we'll pull together."
Holmes, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury through most of non-district play, has rallied back in a big way.
"When we finally got her back toward the point district started, she was not even close to full strength," Musick said. "But she's getting closer and closer each game."
Brewer scored 23 points for Longview in the match. Adams recorded 10 points, including three aces.
The Lady Lobos are still in good positioning for a playoff spot as part of the top-flight alongside Pine Tree, Hallsville and Texas High.
The Lady Pirates, meanwhile, are moving closer toward the first goal of the season.
"There was a lot on the line tonight and a lot of pressure," Musick said. "But going into the playoffs, there's always going to be pressure. So it's almost like, even though it's hard, it's also a gift. You're not going to get very far without having to handle pressure."