White Oak Overcomes Errors to Take Out Mount Vernon in Four Sets
LINDALE -- The White Oak volleyball program can lay claim to the title of East Texas' best over the span of the past decade.
This season, a district title may not have been in the cards, but the Ladynecks are hitting their stride when it counts: in the postseason.
Despite committing an unusual amount of unforced errors at the net, White Oak fought past Mount Vernon in three games, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 25-15, in their Class 3A Region II area-round playoff Thursday night.
White Oak (30-8), which finished as District 16-3A runners-up to No. 4 Beckville during the regular season, will play New Boston next week in the regional quarterfinals.
“I think there were a little bit of nerves that came into play, and once we settled down and got into our game and we were able to get our offense going, I think it was fine," said White Oak coach Nicole Thorn.
White Oak had leads of 17-8 and 24-17 in the first game, but a series of errors allowed Mount Vernon to creep back into the set. The Ladynecks ultimately were victorious in Game 1, but Mount Vernon seized momentum and used that for a match-evening win in the second game.
“We’ve talked a lot about being patient and staying calm when things get kinda crazy," Thorn said. "We know that we’re going to get teams’ best shots, and that’s what it’s supposed to be in the playoffs."
Senior hitter Avery Moore carried White Oak offensively with 21 kills.
“Avery’s a senior and she’s really stepped up this year, and put the team on her back," Thorn said of Moore. "She’s our go-to person, and she’s been that all year. She’s battled a lot of adversity this year with injuries and personal things, but I think she’s done a great job. She knows what’s on the line, and she’s mentally been able to carry our team this far.”
Kara Carter added 11 kills, while Madison Sigmon recorded nine kills and three blocks. Kyla Weeks racked up 38 assists to go along with two kills and two aces for White Oak.
Mount Vernon (29-9), the champions of 13-3A, were led by senior Savannah Wagner, who had 15 kills and three blocks. Alissa Hill added nine kills and four blocks, while Madison Whitfield also hammered down nine kills. Sam Lowry registered 22 assists in the losing effort.
“That’s a great team, they played some great defense," Thorn said of Mount Vernon. "Their libero (Jakayla Fountain) was clutch for them, she made some really big plays. And (Wagner) is a big hitter, but I think we were able to win the serving and passing battle, and stay patient despite the doubles that were being called on our setter.”