Hallsville Fights Off Longview Comeback Attempt In Critical District 15-5A Match
LONGVIEW -- Hallsville had been down this particular road against Longview before.
Almost a year ago to the day, the Lady Lobos rallied from a two-set deficit to snap the Ladycats' District 15-5A unbeaten streak. That loss helped ultimately force a state-ranked Hallsville team into a district championship tie.
Hallsville worked out to a two-set lead in Tuesday's match at Lobo Coliseum and suffered a decisive loss in the third set. This time, however, the Ladycats were able to rally for a narrow 25-18, 25-18, 15-25, 25-23 win.
"Oh yeah, we talked about it," Hallsville head coach Kayla Whatley said, laughing. "After game three -- some of them weren't here and some of them were here -- we just let them know that's exactly what happened to us last year. We won two games and they came back and took three from us. We weren't going to let that happen again. We didn't. Thank goodness."
The outcome pushed the Ladycats to an 8-0 district record. It was the most important victory yet because, with a win, Longview could have tied them in the standings. The Lady Lobos fell to 6-2 in 15-5A.
Both Longview defeats have come against Hallsville. The team made it through the remainder of its first round of league competition without a loss.
Kaitlyn Adams played a major role in the team's surprising win last season. She has taken her game to a different level as a senior.
Adams put up a match-best 23 kills while adding four blocks, an ace and one assist. Her efforts accounted for exactly 50 percent of the points Longview earned.
Carla Boyce scored 10 points in the losing effort.
"(Adams) did a great job tonight," Whatley said. "We didn't really stop her. So, just playing good defense the best that we could, keeping balls off the floor and serving is where we really won."
Audrey Slaten led Hallsville with 14 kills, two aces and one block. Laura Rose Gray rounded out all players in double-digit scoring with 14 total points.
Lexi Hardin recorded 30 assists on the Ladycats' 44 kills in the match.
Hallsville, ranked 11th in the most recent Texas Girls Coaches Association's Class 5A poll, picked up right where it left off against Longview about a month ago. It worked its way out to a 16-7 lead in the first set and then enjoyed a 7-1 run late in the second frame to win both games by scores of 25-18.
Adams scored 10 points in the third set to help Longview boat race the Ladycats, 25-15. A 9-3 run sealed that frame.
"I think we came out pretty confident," Slaten said of Hallsville's approach into the ensuing set. "I thought we had it. We didn't really have any doubts about it."
The two teams battled to a 23-23 score in the decisive frame. But Chantrel Hutchings' go-ahead kill for the Lady Lobos was ruled a net violation and the point was awarded to Hallsville.
The match point was decided only after each team got 10 opportunities to win the point. Hallsville and Longview combined to record 19 digs in the sequence.
Gray finally broke through with an assist from Hardin, spiked right into the middle of the Lady Lobos' court for the winning score.
Longview will try to hold onto second place in the district Friday at Marshall.
Hallsville also will be on the road Friday against Mount Pleasant.
"I definitely want to win out," Whatley said. "I know everybody is going to be after us. Texas High was a good game and we still see them again. Pine Tree will play us well because that's a rival. Everybody gives us their best game, so we've just got to play every game."