Ridge Point, Cy-Fair set for Region III-6A Final
The showdown is set.
Ridge Point will get its shot to get back to the UIL State Tournament for a second-straight year, while Cy-Fair will make its first Regional Finals appearance since 2013.
The Region III-6A Final between Ridge Point and Cy-Fair is slated for a 1 p.m. first-serve on Saturday at Wheeler Field House.
In the early match inside Wheeler Field House, it was a re-match of the 2018 Region III-6A Final with Ridge Point and Pearland Dawson facing off. Just like last year, the Panthers were too much.
Ridge Point rolled to 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-14) victory behind the high-octane duo of Texas A&M-signee Claire Jeter and Kentucky-signee Reagan Rutherford, who were both named AVCA Under Armour All-Americans last week.
"Before the match started we talked about playing our game and staying calm and controlled," first-year Ridge Point coach Lauryn Bailey said. "We knew this was going to be a high-intensity, high-emotion game, so we just wanted to play ours. I know Dawson was motivated to beat us because we beat them last year but [my players] are motivated to beat everybody because they want to get back to state.
"We were both trying to play for something and the girls just took care of business when they needed to."
The clean sweep marked the third-straight by Ridge Point in the playoffs - the Panthers having dropped only one set all postseason - which moves them on to just the program's second-ever Regional Final.
Rutherford led the charge with a team-leading 16 kills, 19 assists and 14 digs for a triple double. Jeter followed with seven kills, while Nia McCardell had a team-leading 27 digs, which put her over 800 for the season, and Britney Ong had 15. Kendall Sekula led Ridge Point with 21 assists for the match.
When Bailey took over this program in the spring, she knew she had a talented crew that could get back to a Regional Final and beyond.
"This team is just a special team to begin with," Bailey said. "I was very lucky to take the reigns and go with it. I just wanted to come in and try to raise their volleyball IQ and try to make smarter decisions. They have all the talent in the world and they have team unity like nobody else I've ever seen. They play together as one. I'm just trying to come in and guide the way and try and get them back there, so they can try and get some redemption from last year."
In the final match of the day, it pitted two teams that hadn't been in a Regional Tournament in a while against each other - Cy-Fair (first appearance since 2013) and Deer Park (first appearance since 2011).
The teams went toe-to-toe with each other in every set but in the end it was Cy-Fair pulling out the 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-22) victory claiming its first Regional Finals appearance in six years.
"It feels good, we were in the Regional Finals many times and had been in the Regional Tournament a lot," Cy-Fair coach Donna Benotti said. "Then having that dry spell was really difficult for our coaching staff and we were just really thrilled to have the opportunity to be back and be playing at this level again."
Cy-Fair was led by junior Rebekah Portalatin and her triple-double, which included 19 kills, 16 assists and 13 digs to lead the Bobcats. Lauryn Bourne finished with 12 kills and 14 digs, while Julia Chew had 16 assists. Annie Heliste and Kara Spice also finished with double-digit digs racking up 13 and 11, respectively.
To get to the program's first state tournament appearance since 2007, the Bobcats - who won a volleyball state title in 1986 - will have to get through 2018 Class 6A runner-up Ridge Point on Saturday.
"That's one big win, Ridge Point is a beastly kind of a team and they are just so talented," Benotti said. "They don't even have any holes. We're just going to give it our best. We do play good defense and hope that we can stand tall with them."