WEATHERFORD — The Argyle Lady Eagles threw everything they had and then some at Decatur with hopes of eking out a win over their arch-nemesis in Saturday’s Class 4A Region I final.
But, as was the case during district play, Decatur was simply too much — especially with a trip to state on the line.
Jentry Lamirand and Kota Hartman had 14 and 10 kills, respectively, as Decatur controlled Saturday’s match — the third of the season between the two teams — from start to finish in a 25-17, 25-14, 25-21 sweep at Weatherford.
With the win, Decatur is back in the state tournament and will play at 5 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Thursday in the state semifinals against an opponent to be determined by seeding. Meanwhile, Argyle’s Cinderella season under new coach Taryn Hill comes to an abrupt end.
“To be honest, we just haven’t been practicing very well. I think they were waiting for Decatur to make more mistakes, but they waited for the wrong time because Decatur is a clean team,” Hill said. “We just weren’t in a position to do that. At the end of the day, we had some great moments. We proved to ourselves that we can score on them quickly.
“We’ll see if the next team can explore their weaknesses like we did a little bit.”
Argyle got seven kills from Jessie Moore and six each from Olivia Sanchez, Camryn Heiser and Katherine Holtman but was unable to take a set off Decatur, which also swept both regular-season meetings.
Argyle’s best chance to avoid a sweep came in a back-and-forth third set. Argyle led 9-8 early and only trailed 16-15 midway through the frame before a costly hitting error kick-started a brief but important 5-1 Decatur run. The surge gave Decatur a 21-16 lead they’d never relinquish.
Argyle pulled to within two of tying, but a service error and kill from Kaylee Peterson helped Decatur ice the win.
“I changed the rotation, and it was different [in the third set],” Hill said. “But as a whole, we just didn’t play quite together — it was more individualized today. You can’t win ball games that way.”
Argyle (31-13) found itself fighting an uphill battle from the start, as Decatur jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first set and maintained a six- or seven-point lead for most of the frame.
Argyle trimmed the deficit to 21-15 but only scored two more points the rest of the way.
Using that momentum, Decatur dominated the second set and at one point led 22-10.
Despite the loss, Hill said she is excited about the future of her program. Argyle won 31 matches this season with just three seniors on its roster. With so many stars returning, Hill is confident they can make another long run next year.
“It’s amazing what a good, strong offseason and an extra club season will do for these kids,” Hill said. “There were tears in the locker room, of course. But these girls will be ready to go. I’m excited to get into the weight room with them and tighten things up a bit. There’s no reason to believe we can’t continue to fight next year.”
STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 469-360-3611 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.