Spring Hill Volleyball Salvages Rivalry Week With Four-Set Win Over White Oak
LONGVIEW -- White Oak sent a strong student section to Spring Hill for Tuesday's volleyball meeting between the local rivals, just four days after the group saw its football team get the best of the Panthers in overtime at the same site.
The Lady Panthers volleyball team and their own large fan base sent the naysayers home in a much less jubilant mood with a 25-20, 14-25, 25-22, 25-16 win for Spring Hill.
"With football going into overtime, I think it started that night," Lady Panthers head coach Karen Brundrett shouted over one last Spring Hill student section chant against White Oak. "Our volleyball girls committed. They would have revenge for our football team. I think that's where it started."
The two volleyball sides met earlier this season in a much more sterile environment. Hallsville hosted the two teams in a tri-match. Spring Hill defeated the Ladynecks there.
Tuesday's match was much more important. It was both teams' last non-district game, and both programs entered the game with state rankings in their respective classifications.
The Lady Panthers, now 21-5, are the Texas Girls Coaches Association's No. 13 team in Class 4A. White Oak (17-7) is ranked 14th in the poll's 3A classification.
They played to the state's expectations. Not many points came easy in the all-encompassing grudge match.
Spring Hill opened the match on a 13-3 run and hung on late for a first set win. The Ladynecks tied the match with a second set win after hopping up 18-4.
Prior to White Oak putting the finishing touch on the second set, the Lady Panthers fans reminded the opposition of the overall score with a "scoreboard" chant. The Ladyneck's student section got the last laugh by playing up the chant before holding up a "22-19" sign, the football score Friday.
The third set was a series of ups and downs on the way to a 17-17 stalemate late.
A White Oak hit out of bounds and back-to-back kills by Jenna Hampton on assists from Ann Hollas allowed Spring Hill to get some breathing room. Hollas sealed the set with two straight kills.
"We've been working on our chemistry all season," Hollas said. "It's gotten better and better. We were able to take it to a new level tonight."
Hampton recorded three kills in the fourth set while Hollas scored four points and three assists in the frame. White Oak committed 12 various errors in the decisive the set.
Spring Hill clinched the game with Mikai Brown's block on a hard spike attempt. The Ladynecks didn't see it coming.
"I'm seeing small (positive) things at times and then we revert back to some of our old ways," Brundrett said. "But, in the last game, I saw more control. Calm and control is what we're working for."
Hollas recorded a team-best 13 kills and 16 assists.
White Oak senior setter Kailee Simmons recorded 26 assists. Taylor Trammel scored 10 points in the match. Avery Moore scored on nine kills.
Both teams will be idle Friday.
The Lady Panthers begin District 16-4A play next week against Chapel Hill. White Oak will host Jefferson on Sept. 26 to begin its District 17-3A schedule.
"We played three tournaments, we played tri-matches," Brundrett said. "We actually played 22 matches in 15 days. The kids were dead, but I think that's how you teach mental toughness. I hate it because it exhausts me too, but, when it comes down to games like this, it puts the edge into their minds that we can do this."
Brundrett and her players described Tuesday's environment as a playoff atmosphere. There's only one way to get more of those.
With a week off, however, there will be some time to reflect back on how they restored order against their local rival.
"It just carried over from the football game," Hollas said. "We just wanted to play for our whole school."