AUBREY — Sometimes, it’s not about how you start a game that says the most about a team. Instead, it can be more about how a team finishes.
For Aubrey, that was precisely the case as the Lady Chaparrals used the way they finished the first set as a springboard to a 28-26, 25-19, 25-19 senior night win over Van Alstyne on Tuesday night.
In the first set, Aubrey (25-9, 9-3 District 9-4A) fell behind 3-1, went through six lead changes and fell behind 24-20 before storming back with an 8-2 run to capture the first set.
“I was proud of our fight,” coach Whitney Stout said. “Our kids finally woke up and realized, ‘We have to play.’”
Late-set comebacks are something the Lady Chaparrals have been used to this season, and to end the regular season on a positive note, the fight Stout said she loves to see in her kids was needed to propel them to the win.
That fight was led by outside hitter Sydney Garrison, who tallied seven kills in the first set, and setter Gracie Bell, who dished out 10 assists.
After falling behind 2-0 early in the second set, Aubrey scored five straight points to grab its first lead in the frame. But, like the first set, Van Alstyne would put up a fight to force five ties and three lead changes.
Aubrey trailed 14-11 before going on a 6-1 run to regain the lead for the final time in the second set. Back-to-back Garrison kills to made it 17-15. Aubrey then finished out the set with an 8-4 run, which was punctuated by back-to-back points from Lexie Temple — a block and a kill.
The third set was more of the same as Van Alstyne hung around for most of the early-to-mid portion of the match, forcing nine ties and six lead changes.
Once again, Van Alstyne had the lead, this time at 16-14, before a 7-0 run by Aubrey turned the tide in its favor. An ace and a kill by Garrison and two kills by Meagan Szostek helped put the Chaparrals in the lead for good.
“This team is super-talented,” Stout said. “When we’re clicking and playing well, we’re a tough team to beat. We’ve shown that and played a tough schedule. It’s just playing consistently.”
And for the sixth straight year, Aubrey will turn its focus toward the playoffs with hopes of replicating and possibly going further than last year’s regional finals appearance.
“A lot of times, teams that have success in the playoffs have a little bit of luck, and sometimes you create it yourself,” Stout said. “We’ve talked about … taking care of everything you can take care of and refuse to lose from here on out.”
The details of Aubrey’s playoff opponent, time and location are still to be determined. Stout said she believes her team will face off against Uplift Summit International on Tuesday but match details have not been confirmed.
While Aubrey finishes the regular season with back-to-back wins, Stout says her team is definitely playing some of its better volleyball right now. But the Chaparrals are nowhere near playing their best, which Stout says bodes well for her team entering the third season.