Lindale Volleyball Fends Off Pine Tree To Reach Class 5A Area Round
TYLER -- There have to be better rewards out there for winning a district championship than facing a Carolee Musick-coached squad in the opening round of the state playoffs.
Musick helped guide White Oak to four consecutive state tournament appearances between 2009 and 2012 and brought her mentality to Pine Tree three seasons ago.
Lindale figured it was in for a challenge against the Lady Pirates and got pushed, but the Lady Eagles prevailed 25-23, 25-22, 25-18, Monday in the Class 5A bi-district playoff round at Tyler Junior College's Wagstaff Gymnasium.
"Pine Tree was good," first-year Lindale head coach Jessica Camp said. "Their middle (Alexis Wiley) is a very good player. Our goal was to keep an eye on her and take her out, but the rest of the team for Pine Tree did a great job of taking care of their business. Our girls were a little nervous, we struggled through the first and second sets, but we kind of got our bearings and did a good job."
Lindale, the District 16-5A champion, opened up a 23-16 lead in the first set of the playoff match. A young Pine Tree team, the District 15-5A fourth-place finisher, closed in with a 7-1 run before Lady Eagles hitter Rhyan Rand could find the decisive point.
With momentum, the Lady Pirates worked out to a 19-13 advantage in the second set.
Then it all came crashing down. Pine Tree gave up eight points on errors to aid in a 12-3 Lindale rally.
The third set was even worse for the Lady Pirates. They committed six errors before getting their first offensive point for the most lopsided frame of the match, a seven-point winning set for Lindale.
But even if Pine Tree had not helped with various miscues, the Lady Eagles scored 48 points on offense to the Lady Pirates' 28 points.
"We've grown a ton," Camp said. "Defensively, we're playing at a totally different level than we were to begin the year. The hitters, I think at the beginning of the year we were Rhyan Rand. Now, we have six solid hitters. Some of which are coming off the bench when needed."
Rand did lead Lindale in victory with 15 total points -- 14 kills and one block. Yet, seven other players combined for 33 more points through the match.
Ryleigh Rand finished with nine points and Heather McLaughlin recorded eight points for the winning side to round out the top tier of scorers.
McKenna Cox played a big role with 17 assists.
Wiley guided Pine Tree with eight kills and four blocks. Hannah Seibel finished with a second-best nine points for the Lady Pirates.
Four other players combined for seven points on the losing side.
"We're all very excited," Rhyan Rand said. "We just have to keep low errors and keep playing our game."
Lindale will face Mansfield Lake Ridge in the area round of the playoffs. Lake Ridge eliminated Dallas Kimball in straight sets Monday.
Camp said both the Lady Eagles and Lake Ridge have a mutual interest in playing the match at North Forney High School. The time and date will be coordinated between the two schools later this week.
Pine Tree should have a stronger team next season. The program will graduate three seniors from its 15-player roster in May.
The beat goes on for the Lady Eagles' six seniors and company.
"We have a lot of seniors, so they want it," Camp said. "We've really grown together as a team. A lot of team unity and team bonding has been happening. We want to play hard even if we're struggling a little bit to get through it."