White Oak Falls in Five Games to Schulenberg in Class 2A Volleyball State Semifinal
GARLAND -- White Oak had one huge comeback in it during Thursday's Class 2A state volleyball semifinal against Schulenberg, but the Ladynecks needed one more.
White Oak erased a six-point deficit late in Game 4 to send the match to a decisive fifth game, but Schulenberg grabbed an early lead and pulled away, beating the Ladynecks 17-25, 25-23, 25-14, 24-26, 15-9 to advance to Saturday's 11 a.m. 2A state championship.
Down 2-1 in the match and 22-16 in Game 4, White Oak (40-6) got a 3-1 run thanks to Rebecca Green, Taylor Tramel, and Audrey Lunstedt kills to stay alive. Facing elimination at 24-19, White Oak's Desiree Vining stepped to the service line and delivered. Vining's second ace of the match was sandwiched between Dorothy Swanson kills during a 7-0 game-ending run that sent the match to a fifth set.
For the fifth consecutive game, Schulenberg (35-9) built an early lead thanks to Shannon Mikesky's two kills and three assists for an 8-3 advantage. White Oak's Madison Pecot answered with back-to-back kills, and a couple of Schulenberg errors plus a Tramel kill kept White Oak alive, trailing only 12-9.
But Schulenberg's Sarah Walker spiked a kill to end the rally and the Lady Horns ended the match on a 3-0 run to send them to their first state championship in their first state tournament trip.
White Oak's four-player senior class of Morgan Baldwin, Shelby Stillwell, Swanson, and Vining helped the Ladynecks reach four consecutive state tournaments, including a 2010 state championship. They're the first senior class to go to four consecutive state tournaments in White Oak history. The Ladynecks have reached seven state tournaments in program history.
"There's no way to speak highly enough of them," said White Oak coach Carolee Musick. "Their leadership coming off of last year when we lost some people in some major roles. We had some returning players this year but not in the same roles. It was a great job on their part of their senior leadership and I thought they played hard and well today, we just made more errors than they did. I'm not at all disappointed of them. I'm proud of them."
Swanson, who will sign with Abilene Christian next week, led White Oak with 14 kills, two blocks, and two aces, while Baldwin had 30 assists and one ace. Green, Tramel, and Pecot had seven kills apiece.
Vining, who returned to the Ladynecks late in the season after recovering from a spring-semester knee injury, had a team-high three aces. Stillwell had two aces, and Lunstedt had three kills and three assists.
"I was real happy for (Vining) that she'll have that memory," Musick said of Vining's Game 4 service rally, "because she worked really hard just to get back to us."
Mikesky had a big afternoon for Schulenberg. Mikesky had 12 kills, one block, 32 assists, and two aces, while classmate Kelsie Fietsam had a match-high 17 kills and three assists. Freshman Bay Guentert had 12 kills, one block, and two aces.
White Oak appeared on its way to rolling into the state championship when the Ladynecks reeled off a 20-7 Game 1 run for an eight-point victory.
But Schulenberg recovered in Game 2 and repelled a late White Oak comeback to even the match. The Ladynecks' offensive attack didn't get as many clean kills during the final three sets at White Oak produced early in the match.
"I thought it was more of we werent passing the ball real well," Musick said. "They were doing pretty much the same thing they were doing all game long, but our productivity and passing weren't quite good enough for us to run our offense 100 percent and have three options off of it."
Schulenberg faces Brock in Saturday's 11:30 a.m. championship. Brock beat Holliday on Thursday afternoon in five games.
Schulenberg led 6-2 and 10-6 before White Oak answered with a 5-0 run sparked by a Green kill and capped by a Tramel kill that gave the Ladynecks a one-point lead. But Schulenberg responded, scoring the next seven points, including two Fietsam kills, to take control of the game. Then came White Oak's thrilling rally that culminated in the Vining-led 7-0 spurt to send the match to Game 5.
Mikesky and Fietsam powered Schulenberg to a fast start as the Lady Horns gained a 12-2 lead. White Oak never recovered in the set. The Ladynecks got within eight at 17-9, but two Guentert kills helped Schulenberg close the game 25-14 and take a 2-1 match advantage.
Schulenberg gradually built a 17-10 lead, but White Oak fought back with Stillwell at the service line to tie 18-18. A Tramel kill helped White Oak gain a 20-19 edge, but two net violations and India Connor's kill and block pushed the Lady Horns to a 25-23 win to tie the match 1-1.
Schulenberg jumped to a 6-1 lead, but White Oak stormed back with a 13-2 run that included three Swanson kills, Cayman Sutton ace, and a Green block.
A Mikesky kill and Sarah Walker block cut White Oak's lead to 15-11, but Swanson answered with two kills down the stretch, and Schulenberg service errors accounted for the Ladynecks' final two points of a 25-17 Game 1 victory.