BECKVILLE -- By now, even the least experienced players on White Oak's roster know there's a target on their back every time they take the floor. That's just how it is after reaching the Class 3A state semifinals last season.

Tuesday's stop was Beckville to face a Ladycats team ranked No. 1 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association's Class 2A poll and fresh off a state-wide invitational tournament win in Bronte. Beckville packed its home gym about an hour ahead of the match in anticipation of taking the next big step. 

The two teams combined for a nearly flawless early first set, but the Ladynecks ran away with a 25-17, 25-10, 25-23 non-district road win.

"We knew we were going to get Beckville's best shot," White Oak head coach Nicole Thorn said. "They're No. 1 in the state for a reason. But we just wanted to come in here and send a message that we are a quality 3A team."

White Oak head coach Nicole Thorn looks on, during the Roughnecks' match against Beckville. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

Thorn's squad experienced a wide array of circumstances.

The first set started off as a barn burner. Beckville (20-4) led 11-10 through four lead changes and both teams had only given up one unearned point apiece at that point.

However, the Ladycats surrendered 10 of White Oak's final 15 points of the frame on various unforced errors.

The Ladynecks (15-5) continued on with a very strong second set. Kayla McCoy, a senior, recorded recorded five blocks in the segment, including four straight as part of an 11-0 run.

Beckville came out in the third set and kept pace with White Oak all the way to a 24-23 score. Avery Moore stopped any hopes of a late comeback with the decisive kill set up by Cayman Sutton.

"I was very proud of my team for persevering," Thorn said. "Especially in Game 1 because Beckville gave us everything they had. We just had a lot of poise and were able to finish. We let up in Game 3 and Beckville definitely picked it up and inched their way back in. We're very blessed to come down here and play a great team."

White Oak gave up 11 unearned points all match. The Ladycats surrendered a full set's worth.

McCoy led the Ladynecks in scoring with 15 points. Eight kills, six blocks and an ace.

Moore also finished in double digits with 13 points, including a game-best 11 kills, while Sutton recorded 26 assists in the match.

Beckville's Cassidy Alexander led all players with 30 assists. Carley Lawhorn finished with a team-best seven kills.

Despite the defeat, things are looking very good for the Ladycats. Each of their four losses have come against teams outside of Class 2A.

Beckville will travel to New Diana next week to wrap up its non-district schedule.

White Oak will be back in action Thursday as hosts of the Shirley Atkins Tournament. The event runs through Saturday.

"I just want us to continue to get better each time we step onto the court," Thorn said. "Especially at the things we'll be working on in practice."

Beckville's Carson Blair comes down with a big-time dig in the third set to help the Ladycats stay in the match. Blair recorded 12 digs Tuesday. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)