FORT WORTH – When the ball hit the net and flew out of play, the Callisburg half of the gym erupted in celebration.
The Callisburg Lady Cats defeated Maypearl 3-2 in a thrilling bi-district playoff match, winning 25-22, 25-15, 17-25, 20-25, 15-9 at Keller Fossil Ridge.
Callisburg coach Morgan Roberson said the match came down to changes in momentum.
“In that second set, we managed to get up quick, and they just couldn’t return,” Roberson said. “Same against us in the third set, and fourth, really. We couldn’t ever recover. In that fifth set, we got a run early, and that’s what it took.”
The fifth set started back-and-forth before Callisburg took control with a 9-1 run, largely behind serves from senior Libby Ballard. Maypearl tried to fight back, but a mishandled ball out of bounds ended the match.
Maypearl took the momentum into the fifth set after winning two-straight. Callisburg had cruised to victory in set two, but Maypearl returned the favor in the third. The Lady Panthers had a hot start to the fourth, as well. Callisburg rallied to make it close but couldn’t finish the comeback.
Roberson said after losing the third and fourth sets, she reminded her team what a loss would mean.
“I laid it out on the line,” Roberson said. “If we don’t come away with a (win) tonight, it’s over. These seniors? They’re done playing volleyball in your whole career. We don’t have practice tomorrow if we don’t win.”
While the match needed five sets to decide, the first had a lot to do with the result. Maypearl started the match on fire, leading 10-4 at one point, forcing a Callisburg timeout. The set evened out afterward.
The Lady Cats then came roaring back with a 5-0 run. They eventually finished the set on a 7-2 run. Junior Abby Pollard had the set-winning kill after Maypearl fought off two game points.
Senior setter Ashtyn Huddleston said the comeback in the first gave the Lady Cats confidence throughout the match.
“It really pushed us the second set,” Huddleston said. “We had a good lead. I think we just got a little comfortable throughout the third and fourth set and let them come back… The seniors wanted it really bad, so we were pushing everybody to do their best and want it the whole game.”
Maypearl was always going to be a challenging first opponent. The Lady Panthers went 13-1 in district play. Roberson said she is proud of her team’s hard-fought win, but there is still work to do.
“It just gets harder from here,” Roberson said. “It was a really good win for us. I think it did a lot for our confidence. Hopefully, we can keep on trucking as long as possible.”