Pleasant Grove Comes Back From Two Games Down To Shock Bullard
HALLSVILLE -- Charismatic Pleasant Grove coach Amy Collvins did not like what she was seeing at all in Tuesday's Class 4A bi-district playoff game against Bullard at Hallsville's Bobcat Coliseum.
The message was clear down 22-14 in the second set after losing the first game of the match. The Lady Hawks were supposed to be better than they were playing.
PG lost that second set and had its back against the wall the remainder of the match. But it left town with a 18-25, 19-25, 25-15, 25-23, 15-11 win and will face Wills Point in the area round.
"I think it takes a lot to get them just to settle down," Collvins said. "I have one freshman and a lot of sophomores on. That third game settled us down. For them to take that and come back for three straight wins, that's huge with only one senior. They worked hard and earned it."
By the time Bullard called a timeout in the fifth set, down 12-9, the Lady Hawks were the ones with the mental high ground. They were immediately ready to get back on the court while the Lady Panthers huddled tight and tried to talk it out with an unpleasant reality knocking at the door.
Back on the floor, Bullard had a shot hit the net. Then the ball rolled right off the hands of a hitter after a shaky setup. Ashley Zamazal's block cut PG's lead to 14-11, but Brittany Colorigh's kill shot from setter Anna Miller sealed the game.
The Lady Panthers entered the game with a lot of confidence. A strong late season performance allowed it to clinch District 16-4A's second seed and draw a fair fight against District 15-4A's third seed.
And it had that lower-seeded team on the ropes during Collvins' pep talk.
"I was thinking, 'This is it. This is my last volleyball game ever,'" PG hitter Aubrey Ashby said. "I'm the only senior, so I'm the only one who really knows what it feels like when it hits you that it's your last game.
"The underclassmen really clicked. I think they saw that I was starting to get down. I went down to the end of the bench during a timeout and just sat there staring at my hands for a second and started to think during that timeout. They just came out and helped me out. Wouldn't want anyone else out there with me."
Ashby finished with 18 points in the five-game match and fought to see at least one more game.
Miller, a sophomore setter, fed Ashby and others with a team-best 21 assists in the match.
Mackenzie Fish, a UT-Tyler commitment, finished her high school career with 11 points for the Lady Panthers in the loss.
Bullard's first game lead ranged from two to to one points before it used a four-point run to jump out 15-11 and control the frame. PG opened the second set on a 4-0 run and the Lady Panthers responded to score 19 of the next 26 points.
The Lady Hawks bounced back for a relatively easy third set win, 25-15.
Bullard appeared to be in a full-scale meltdown in the fourth game. It committed five straight errors after a 2-2 score and committed 10 over the set. But PG had 14 unforced errors in the same frame on the way to a 22-all score.
Nakina Levingston's block, a kill from Ashby on a Miller assist and Miller's dump off to open space gave the Lady Hawks the win in the fourth game, 25-23. The Lady Panthers' final point in that frame came on a PG hit right outside the court's sideline about 10 feet from the net.
"That was a really important set," Ashby said. "We wanted to win that set and they came out and the underclassmen really helped me out. We won that set and figured we might as well try to win the fifth set. We went to that one and here we are."
Collvins said both PG and Wills Point have an interest in playing Saturday. A time and location will be worked out between the two schools.
"We just really clicked in the third set," Ashby said. "I think we realized, 'This is it. We're about to be finished.' We really came out and didn't want to let Coach Collvins down. They were a good team and put up a good fight, especially in the last set, but we pushed through."