The Boyd Lady Jackets and Callisburg Lady Cats are both coming off seasons in which their Class 3A state title dreams were squashed by champion Goliad – Boyd in the semifinal game and Callisburg in the title match.
The two teams recently met up in the Glen Rose Tournament over the weekend with the Lady Jackets sweeping Callisburg in two sets.
Tuesday’s rematch saw the Lady Jackets shoot out to an impressive 25-15 first-set win, but the Lady Cats clawed back for the 15-25, 25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 15-10 victory at North Central Texas College in Gainesville.
“They definitely played much better here than they did in that tournament,” Boyd head coach Dusty Crafton said. “That’s for sure. They definitely played a lot harder. There’s no question about it. We didn’t serve aggressively enough. I will say they were better defensively this time and they moved the ball around a little bit more than they did in the tournament.”
The first set had the Lady Jackets (16-2), who were recently ranked No. 4 in the state by the Texas Girls Coaches Association, hitting on all cylinders as they breezed their way to the easy win, but the second set was a much different story.
Callisburg (17-3), ranked No. 7 by the TGCA, jumped out to a 7-3 advantage with Boyd cutting into the lead temporarily. Callisburg led 14-9 and later 18-13, which prompted a timeout by Crafton.
The Lady Jackets responded with a 5-2 rally to trim the lead to 20-18. The two teams exchanged points but Boyd ran out of time as Callisburg held on for the 25-22 win.
“They’re just a very, very solid team,” Callisburg head coach Angie Allen said. “They’re the best defense we’ve seen. They have hitters that can put it down. You really don’t necessarily want to be matching up with someone in your region a couple times in preseason, but since they’re not in our region, it’s huge to be playing each other.”
The third set had a similar outcome, but a much different path for Boyd.
Each squad leveled out to a 9-9 tie before the Lady Jackets seized control with a 6-2 spurt to take a 15-11 lead, prompting a timeout by Allen.
Unfortunately for the Lady Jackets, they couldn’t stave off a furious comeback from the Lady Cats.
Callisburg woke from its momentary slumber and rattled off a 6-2 run of its own to tie the set at 17-17.
With the score tied at 20-20, it was the Lady Cats that emerged with the winning formula as they closed out the set for the 25-23 win and a 2-1 edge in the sets.
“We kind of sometimes ride the highs and lows of the game,” Allen said. “I felt like their team is good at not doing that. We made a couple mistakes early and couldn’t recover. We just regrouped and we talked about them having to earn every right. We have to do all the little things point. If they get a point, it’s because they earned it. We cut our errors in half and it really helped us.”
Callisburg began the fourth set with an 8-5 advantage and later led 14-12 after a 4-0 run, but Boyd didn’t go down without a fight.
Down 17-15, the Lady Jackets erupted for an 8-0 run to suck the life out of the Lady Cats and cruise to a 25-19 win.
In the final fifth set, each team evened out to a 9-9 tie, but Callisburg bowed up when it mattered with a 4-0 run to claim a 13-9 lead on the way to the 15-10 victory.
“My kids are just competitors,” Allen said. “They want to win. At the end of games, I have that confidence in them that they are going to go hard. I knew they would lay it on the line. It’s so good for us to go five sets. It doesn’t happen a lot in district, so it’s good for them to have to stay mentally tough. It’s always great to beat a good team. They’re extremely good.”
Crafton said despite the loss, facing a tough opponent such as Callisburg early in the season was good for the Lady Jackets.
“I would say this is definitely a big battle of [Class] 3A volleyball,” Crafton said. “They’re going to come out of that region and we’re hoping to come out of ours. It was a great showdown. It was a great match to have. I told the girls that we could have scheduled a lot of people tonight. We got better because of it. Obviously, if we are two of the teams that went to state last year, there’s a reason for that.”