Lady Buckeyes oust Lady
By Sam Epps
Special to The Monitor
BROWNSBORO–The Mabank Lady Panthers had their state playoff
dreams dashed Tuesday, as they lost a 3-0 regional quarterfinals
volleyball playoff match to the District 15-3A Gilmer Lady Buckeyes at
The Lady Panthers ended their season at 28-6, with a District 13-3A
championship (going 10-0 in loop play) and an area championship.
Gilmer will advance to the regional tournament, scheduled to begin
Friday at the Texas A&M University at Commerce campus.
In a cat-and-mouse match, both teams swapped the leads throughout, as
one would edge ahead, the other would rally to tie and then take a lead,
and the first would rally, in turn.
Gilmer prevailed in three straight, 25-22, 25-23 and 25-21.
“The scores were very close,” Mabank head coach Stacy Shelton said
afterward. “In the first game, there were nine ties; in the second game,
it was tied 13 times, and in the third game, it was tied four times.
“The difference was unforced errors,” Shelton added. “We had way more
Mabank had 17 unforced errors, 12 of them on serves, Shelton said.
“You just can’t have bad nights like we did,” she said. “Gilmer was a
great defensive team, and passed the ball well. We did not serve or
receive the ball well at all.”
The Lady Panthers scored only 61 percent on receiving serves, and only
68 percent on digs, Shelton pointed out.
Those service receive problems showed early, when Lady Buckeye senior
Whitney Brantley gave Gilmer a 1-0 lead by nailing an ace.
By the time game one was tied at 16-16, the lead had changed five times.
The Gilmer girls never had more than a three-point lead, and that’s how
game one ended, with the Lady Buckeyes on top by three.
In game two, Mabank took an early 3-0 lead, and kept the lead until
Gilmer jumped ahead 9-8.
The same cat-and-mouse chase ensued, with numerous lead changes, with
Mabank eventually taking a 22-21 lead.
Gilmer had a three-point scoring run to regain the lead, but Mabank
threatened, coming to within 24-23.
The Lady Buckeyes scored once more, snagging game two 25-23.
In game three, Gilmer served first, but the Lady Panthers pulled in the
Mabank led the game until Gilmer tied it up at 13-13.
Gilmer eventually forged a six-point lead, 22-16, but Mabank’s offense
picked up the pace to close the gap to 23-19.
The Gilmer girls held on, however, to secure a four-point win.
Miranda Groom had an outstanding game for the Lady Panthers, notching 15
kills, one block, 13 digs and one save.
Hali Schultz, Shadia Rueb and Bridgette Tanner dominated the net for
Rueb and Schultz had eight kills each, with Rueb adding two blocks and
two digs, while Schultz had one block, seven digs and one save.
Tanner finished with nine kills, two blocks and nine digs.
Setter Kelsi Reynolds notched 40 assists in the contest, along with two
digs, while Pheng Leav had 10 digs and two saves.
Kelly Hitzfeld had two kills and four blocks, while Lindsie Amyx added
“We had a tremendous season, and I hate ending it not playing as well as
we know we can play,” Shelton said.
“Our girls have a lot of heart and spirit, and it’s killing them not to
be able to play another match this season,” she added.
“They truly love the sport of volleyball, and I love each and every one
of my 14 players,” she said. “I could not ask for a better or more
caring group of athletes. When I look up the word ‘team’ in the
dictionary, I see a picture of all 14 of my players.”
Monitor Photo/Sam Epps
Mabank’s Miranda Groom (center) receives a Gilmer hit, as teammates
Lindsie Amyx (10) and Pheng Leav (4) look on during the Lady Panthers’
regional quarterfinals loss in Brownsboro Tuesday.
EHS @ P.Westwood (scr)
KHS @ Brownsboro
EHS @ Scurry-Rosser
MHS @ Canton
KHS @ Crandall Classic
EHS vs Bullard
MHS @ Van
KHS @ Fairfield
EHS @ Quinlan-Ford
Nov. 30-Dec. 2
Cedar Creek Lake Shoot-0ut
MHS @ Lindale
KHS @ Malakoff
EHS @ Mineola
KHS @ Cayuga Tourney
MHS @ Cross Roads
MHS vs Terrell
EHS vs Rusk
KHS @ Scurry-Rosser
KHS @ Edgewood
MHS vs Royse City
KHS vs Mineola
EHS @ Van