The temperature outside Buda Johnson High School was around freezing when its gym hosted Tuesday night's UIL 6A Region IV quarterfinal volleyball match, but that didn't cool down one of the state's hottest teams. Schertz Clemens (42-4) overcame a five-set battle with Lake Travis (38-14) to advance to this weekend's UIL 6A Region IV semifinal at San Antonio ISD's Alamo Convocation Center.
"Honestly, we have to thank [area round opponent San Antonio] Reagan," said VYPE Player of the Game and 2020 Arizona commit Shelby O'Neal. "They prepared us for that fifth set. We'd only gone to five sets once before with [New Braunfels] Canyon. And playing Reagan, we knew we had to bring all the energy to beat Lake Travis after they upset [Helotes] O'Connor in five."
Schertz Clemens had to rely on O'Neal to extend its win streak to 34 matches. Her three early kills guided the Buffaloes to a 7-3 lead in the opening set, and she recorded two more critical points to tie the match and ultimately take the lead for good in a 25-22 victory.
The second set saw Schertz Clemens bouncing back from a 5-3 hole. Canada Buchanan recorded an early kill that tied the score at five and provided three more in a 25-18 period win.
Lake Travis was now a set defeat away from the end of its season, but it also had the confidence to bounce back because it upset Helotes O'Connor in the area round of the playoffs. The Cavaliers made their third playoff match a competitive one because they led by as much as eight in a 25-19 third period win and added a 25-16 win in the fourth.
All the momentum was on Lake Travis' side going into the fifth and final set, but Schertz Clemens answered the call late. O'Neal recorded two more kills in a 8-2 Buffaloes start, and Buchanan's match-deciding kill resulted in a 15-8 period win.
"It definitely was the highlight of that whole game," Buchanan said of her game-winning play. "This is the farthest our school has gone in 30 years. Just being able to do that for my team is huge for me."
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