Argyle

Argyle teammates celebrate after scoring a point against Decatur on Tuesday at Decatur High School.

DECATUR — Tied at 13 in the decisive fifth set, Argyle libero Jada Price went sprawling to the hardwood.

At first glance, it looked like Price just missed saving the incoming kill attempt, as Decatur started to celebrate. But Price managed to keep the ball off the deck and keep the play alive.

And Argyle took advantage.

Argyle regrouped to win the point, going up 14-13. On the ensuing point, Ella Payne sent Argyle home victorious, burying a ferocious kill to take down defending state champion Decatur in dramatic fashion, 30-28, 19-25, 18-25, 25-21, 15-13.

“It was definitely a crucial play because momentum was already in our favor,” Argyle coach Megan DeGroot said of Price’s play to keep the ball alive. “Had the official called that down, momentum would have shifted. Momentum is like a pendulum. Whichever team the pendulum is on is the team that is typically going to win.”

After falling behind 8-4 in the final frame, Argyle made a 5-0 push to retake the lead at 9-8. Kiley Lavelle’s clutch block pulled Argyle to within 8-6, sparking the run that ultimately won the game.

“We’ve [fought back] plenty of times before,” Lavelle said. “We don’t like to, but Decatur is our rival. We just had to keep pushing and fight for the win. It’s extremely big and probably one of our favorite wins so far. It meant a lot.”

Argyle made an even bigger rally in the first set, erasing a seven-point deficit to pull out a wild 30-28 win. But Decatur responded, winning the next two sets to go up 2-1.

On the verge of defeat, Argyle never blinked.

“I’m speechless,” DeGroot said. “I’m so proud of them. I knew they could do it. I woke up this morning and texted everyone, and said, ‘We’re going to win. I don’t care what happens. Whether it’s five, four or three, we’re walking away with a win.’”

The two sides traded points for much of the fourth set, but a block by Lavelle and kill by Mariah Hesselgesser ignited a 5-1 run to force a final set.

Hesselgesser and Allie Jones ended the match with 15 kills each. Price finished with a staggering 42 digs, as Argyle became the first Class 4A team to beat Decatur this year.

With the win, Argyle improved to 25-5 overall and 2-0 in District 8-4A. The Lady Eagles have now won 11 straight games dating back to Sept. 6.

“Someone from the outside looking in might could say we made a statement to the rest of the state, but I’m not even worried about that,” DeGroot said. “I don’t care what the rest of the state thinks. I care what these girls think. I think we made a statement for us. We’re leaving here knowing we’re on the right path, and it’s only going to get better.”

REECE WADDELL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @ReeceWaddell15.

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