FRISCO — A solid season in which Guyer won the District 5-6A title under first-year coach Leslie Jackson came to an abrupt end in a five-set loss to Hebron on Thursday night at Lebanon Trail High School. Hebron won 23-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22, 16-14.
Guyer (21-11) built leads in the first four sets but could only make two of those stand as Hebron — a difficult foe for the Wildcats — started to get into rhythm both offensively with long runs and defensively with timely digs and blocks.
“Hebron’s backs were up against the wall, and they performed when they needed to,” Jackson said. “They got the reverse sweep on us, because they had no other option.”
The night started strong for the Wildcats as they jumped out to quick leads in both the first and second sets. Guyer and Hebron played to 11 ties and four lead changes in the first set, but a 8-3 run proved decisive as Guyer took the frame.
The second set mirrored the first set, with the Wildcats jumping out to the early lead and then battling some errors and runs by Hebron before a 7-2 run put them in the lead for good to win the set.
But the third set was where everything changed. Despite jumping out to the another lead, Guyer could not withstand Hebron’s comeback as it went on an 8-2 run toward the middle of the set to grab the lead it would not surrender the rest of the way.
Guyer committed 10 errors in that set alone, and with Hebron’s attack starting to come to life, the entire momentum of the match seemed to swing. With the score 22-17, Guyer made a four-point run to get to within 22-21 but could not finish the comeback.
And just like the third, Guyer built a quick lead once again in the fourth but saw it go away quickly as Hebron went on a 10-5 run to take the lead it would not give up. For the entire set, the two teams traded punches, but Guyer could not close the gap despite getting the score again with one point late in the frame.
With the momentum squarely in Hebron’s corner, the fifth frame started with the Hawks jumping out to the very quick 3-1 lead. Guyer battled back with to take leads at 5-3 and 8-5, only to see Hebron go on a 4-1 run to tie the score at nine.
The teams traded the lead eight times in the fifth frame, but it was Hebron that put the game away with a kill and a block to upset the No. 1 seed out of 5-6A.
It was a tough way to end a season that included dreams of a deeper run. Jackson said she told her team after the game that she was proud of their growth throughout the season.
“[I] didn’t really focus that much on this match because it doesn’t matter [in the end],” Jackson said. “It’s more about the growth in the season and how they’ve grown as people.”
It was the first time the Wildcats fell in the bi-district round since 2018, when they lost to Flower Mound.
Guyer graduates six players from the varsity roster but will bring back nine lettermen, including outside hitter Kyndal Stowers, who finished with 33 kills and 31 digs, and setter Ava Houser, who dished out 30 assists.
“We’re going to have some kids step up into some big roles [next year],” Jackson said. “We’re graduating a pretty solid class, so they’re going to have to fill some big shoes.