Texas High + Mom And Daughter Duo Move On With Win Against Lindale
HALLSVILLE -- Texas High took Lindale's best punch in Tuesday's Class 5A bi-district state volleyball playoff match in the form of a 9-2 opening run.
But even in that set of the four-game match, it looked like it was going to be a good day for Lady Tigers' head coach Melissa Trotter-Hardy. Her team managed to tie the Lady Eagles, the runner up in District 16-5A, at 25-all and 26-all before falling.
Texas High won the next three sets for a 26-28, 25-22, 25-22, 25-21 win and has a date with Mansfield Legacy in the area round of the postseason.
"Sometimes we start off a little slow and it takes a moment to warm up," Trotter-Hardy said. "I've already talked to them about that. 'You're in the playoffs now and everybody you play is going to be good. We can't start off like this.' I think they realize that they're going to have to start off on time."
The Lady Tigers team, the third seed out of a very competitive District 15-5A, has six seniors. Tuesday's win was the first time the program has made it to the area round in the current, four-year generation of students at Texas High.
One senior definitely stood out. Outside hitter Jessica Trotter scored 25 points in the match and added 18 assists.
It's easy to see why Coastal Carolina jumped at the chance to recruit Trotter, the daughter of Trotter-Hardy.
The mom and daughter duo are in their final stretch of games together.
"This is something I've been looking forward to since my freshman year," Trotter said. "I've been wanting to go past the first round of the playoffs since she's been my coach. She's been working so hard, and so have I. I feel like she deserves some credit for teaching us and working so hard. She's worked our tails off in practice and I feel like the hard work is paying off."
It wasn't just Trotter.
Senior hitter Chanell Hayes scored 14 points to round out Lady Tigers in double digits. Senior blocker Kysten Dansby and junior all-around player Kristin McDuffie combined for 11 blocks.
The team as a whole had 16 blocks.
Travicia Acy had a team-best 18 points for Lindale and McKenna Cox recorded 12 assists in addition to three kills and three aces.
Texas High got a kill from Trotter, a block from Dansby and an ace from Jessica Bilimek in addition to a Lindale serving error to turn a 21-all tie in the second set into a 25-22 win.
The Lady Eagles got as close as 23-22 in the third game, but Hayes delivered on a kill set up by Trotter and then Trotter surprised Lindale with a dump shot into the open court to seal the set.
Texas High scored on seven dump offs in the match.
"It was designed," Trotter-Hardy said. "We do things like that all the time. Our game plan today was to run their blockers, so we shot a lot of stuff to the outside. A lot of quicker stuff into the open court. I was also very proud because we've had a blocking problem in the past. Those girls did a really good job stepping up and blocking."
The Lady Tigers never trailed after a 2-1 deficit in the fourth game. A 13-5 run out to a 21-13 score gave the team a cushion.
Down 23-16 in the final set, Lindale jumped back into the match with four of the last six points and forced Texas High to use a timeout with a 24-21 lead.
Trotter's team won the next point to advance.
"It's really hard to gain momentum and come back from bad starts like we had," Trotter said. "I think the biggest thing we've worked on is keeping our head in the game. We're capable of coming back and win. I'm really proud of the girls because we've come a long way since before the start of the season. I just hope we keep carrying it out through the rest of the season."
A time, date and location for the second round game against Mansfield Legacy was not finalized as the Lady Tigers prepared to head back to Texarkana.
Once the meeting is set, the Metroplex team will have to figure out how to get a hold on Trotter and a cast of other players peaking at the right time.
"She's put a lot of time into it and loves volleyball," Trotter-Hardy said. "That's what she's going to play in college. She's so passionate about it and I wanted her senior year to be awesome. To be something she remembers for a long time. I'm excited we won our first playoff game and hopefully we win the next one.
"It's been a while since we've won here. I know this is something that's exciting for her and she's happy about it."