TYLER -- Shelbi Steen deliver a forceful blow to the ball and it descended quickly toward the floor.

The moment it hit, the Lindale crowd let out a triumphant roar. With that kill, the Lady Eagles defeated Lufkin, 3-1. They won the first, third and fourth sets by scores of 25-20, 25-16 and 25-19. It lost the second, 25-22.

The victory advanced Lindale to the area round, where it will face the winner of Lancaster and Red Oak.

Steen finished with nine kills, four of which came in the final set. Although she had a slow start offensively, she found other ways to contribute that kept Lindale from falling behind.

"Everyone expects Shelbi to be a great hitter and she is, but her defense tonight was on point," coach Jessica Dimsdle said. "She moved well and did great things on defense and I was proud of that. When we needed her to come through on the front row, she came through as she always does."

Steen also finished with 10 digs. Meanwhile, it was Brina Kuslak and Skylar Wyllie who led the attack for the Lady Eagles. They combined for 21 kills and five blocks. Kuslak was also huge in the final set, recording two kills during a crucial 7-1 run to finish the set from Lindale.

With the Lady Eagles up 20-18, Lufkin called timeout. Dimsdle's message to her team was simple during the break.

"I have to remind them to breathe sometimes," she said. "Breathing helps. I just had to tell them to do what we know to do and take care of business."

That message seemed to be enough for Lindale, For an evenly matched game, Dimsdle was proud of the way her squad played in each set.

"I felt like we had more opportunities to put the ball down," she said. "Lufkin put up a solid block, but we started swinging around it and just powering through. Our defense rocked it and our libber played her butt off."

The area round matchup time and date has yet to be announced.

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