SPLENDORA — About 48 hours earlier, the Splendora Ladycats were dissatisfied with themselves. They didn’t make the Gold Bracket of their very own Splendora Tournament after going 1-2 in pool play on Thursday. And it stung.
But new a new goal was the objective on Saturday. And it was achieved.
With a 25-13, 25-23 win over nearby Caney Creek, the Ladycats became the Silver Bracket champions.
“I’m super proud of them,” Second-year Splendora coach DaVette McCall said. “I know it was tough, especially being in our own tournament. Our goal turned into winning the Silver Bracket and they really came out today with the fight and the energy to win it.”
The Ladycats (9-8) defeated Liberty 25-22, 25-13 earlier in the day to make it to the final.
Caney Creek (7-8) rallied in its semifinal match with Anahuac. The Lady Panthers in red eventually won 19-25, 26-24, 25-20.
What stood out to first-year Caney Creek coach Heidi Otto more than reaching the Silver Bracket championship how much better her team played against the Ladycats this time around. Splendora rolled past Caney Creek just eight days ago as the Lady Panthers totaled just 39 points in the three-set loss.
“We played Splendora a week ago and it was really, really rough,” Otto said. “To get to play them again and improve that much in a week was really good for our confidence. It was nice to see as a coach. I feel pretty good about it.”
Splendora busted out to a 13-6 lead in the first set. During an opening 4-0 run, senior libero Kayla Martin had two aces while freshman Falon Buford had two kills in the early moments.
“My freshman setter Falon Buford, she’s been really been holding her own,” McCall said.
Caney Creek got a kill by Lydia Madden and another by Jamiyah Wills to pull to a 16-12 deficit. The Ladycats then rolled, taking nine of the next ten points. Junior Melaney Owens and senior Shaelyn Sanders each had kills during the stretch while junior Katie Brzowski put up a block to secure the set.
In the second set, Caney Creek trailed early before using a 7-0 run to lead 10-6. Macey Barrier, Wills, Emari Clark and Alyssa Massey each had kills durng the run while Wills also had an ace.
Splendora went on a 4-0 run with kills by Sanders, Brzowski and an ace by junior Ashton Schulz to tie it up.
It was pretty much point for point volleyball until a Caney Creek 23-21 lead turned into a 4-0 run by the Ladycats for the win.
“Our hitters turned it on and found the holes,” McCall said. “That’s kind of where we got our points. Our serve-receive did pretty well, but our hitters just did their jobs today.”
For Caney Creek, a pair of players stood out to Otto on the day.
First it was Wills.
“She’s really getting good on the outside and she’s getting the confidence at the end of games to go up and get a hit,” Otto said. “We’ve been working on that a lot.”
Also Barrier, a transfer student from Wallis Brazos providing leadership.
“Macey Barrier has been a huge help for us this year,” Otto said.
For Splendora, its 6-foot-3 sophomore had a solid match.
“Our middle blocker Jalynn Knight — she stood out,” McCall said. “She’s been really been doing well running the court as a sophomore this year and making herself available.”
With the pair of wins Saturday, Splendora has already surpassed its win total of eight in 2018.
Splendora hosts Lumberton Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. while Caney Creek hosts Waller at 6 p.m.
PORTER PLACES SIXTH
The Porter Lady Spartans placed sixth in the Gold Bracket of the tournament.
The Lady Spartans (9-15) had a bye into the semfinals where they lost to Texas City (25-23, 25-20). They then lost in a third-place semifinal against Lumberton (25-22, 25-21) and slipped up against Klein Oak JV in the fifth place match (19-25, 25-16, 25-23).
Texas City went on to win the championship, 25-23, 25-20 over Tarkington.