The Water Valley Wildcats made their second straight trip to the UIL State Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.
Coach Brenda Greebon's squad lost in the 1A state title match last year to Neches and were looking for revenge. But first-year head coach Caitie Carney and the Round Top-Carmine Cubettes stopped any plans WVHS had on playing in Thursday afternoon's 1A title game, coming back from a first-set loss and winning the next three (22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 26-24) to secure their spot in the 1A championship match.
RTC has a long history at the volleyball state tournament; this is the program's 21st overall appearance (tied for third in UIL history). The Cubettes are tied for fith with the most state titles in history, with six.They will shoot for Title No. 7 on Thursday against the defending champs, the Neches Tigers.
Round Top-Carmine actually led in Set 1, 11-7, but made a string of unforced errors that allowed Water Valley (31-13) to tie the set at 11. The two teams matched point-for-point before a 4-0 run by the Wildcats gave them a 23-19 lead and they closed it out for there.
The turning point for Carney's crew came in Set 2, when they Cubettes trailed 9-5.
"At that point our middle, (junior) Kelsey Lumbeck, got involved and stepped up our play. She was very instrumental in us coming back."
And come back they did, rolling off an overall 16-6 run to take a 21-15 lead. The Cubbettes then matched the 'Cats point-for-point to win Set 2.
After winning Set 3, RTC had a 24-20 lead in Set 4 and tried to close out the match.
However, Greebon's crew dug deep and eventually tied it at 24-all. But two unforced errors helped the Cubbettes win the match.
"We're aware of the long history our school has at (the state tournament)," Lunbeck said afteward. "We have moms, aunts and relatives in the community who played for those (previous) state teams. It's a lot of fun to share history with them."
Lunbeck slammed 11 kills and made two solo blocks in the win. Brooke Schobel led all hitters with 16 kills; she added three aces and nine digs. Kate Ellers dished out 41 assists for RTC and led the team with 18 digs.
The Wildcats were busy on defense as four players had double-digit dig counts. Bailey Dawson had 17 digs (she also had nine kills and two assists); Chesney Baker dug out 14 balls (she also had nine kills); Kalysta Minto-Holla made 14 digs (she added six kills, 15 assists and three aces to her totals); and, Emery Sears made 12 digs (she added two aces to her totals).
"These four seniors (Kendra Hoover, Baker, Greebon and Dawson) have laid a great foundation as we change the culture at Water Valley," coach Greebon explained. "It's all about working harder no matter what the score is; it's all about showing up and knowing you can lose on any given day. "I'm very proud of these young ladies; they played together, worked together and played as a team. They've had great careers."
VYPE editor Thomas Bingham and Hill Country Indoor sports director Evan Beyer continue their 2019-2020 sports coverage, share this week's "From The Bench" interview with Westlake basketball players Shay Holle (Texas commit) and Presley Bennett (Texas State commit) and introduce "Producer Josh" Waclawczyk during the 14th Locker Talk Austin/San Antonio episode.
The hosts also discuss the area volleyball teams that qualified for this weekend's UIL state final four, mention the area champs from the TAPPS state cross country meet, participate in their weekly pick 'em and discuss the San Antonio Spurs after they retired Tony Parker's jersey.
Corrections: Northwest ISD's Byron Nelson High School is located in Trophy Club (not Justin) and Westlake girls basketball lost to Converse Judson (not Cibolo Steele) in the 2019 UIL 6A Region IV Quarterfinal.
For more sports coverage, follow Thomas (@Texan8thGen) and VYPE (@VYPEATX/@VYPESATX) on Twitter.
Looking to get more involved? Check out ShopVYPE for fresh gear that supports local schools and the VYPE U Ambassador Program. To sign up for the VYPE U Program, apply at VYPEU.com.