Ryan head coach Nicole Hervey said before Tuesday’s dual match that Aubrey, Dallas’ Woodrow Wilson and her Lady Raiders were more evenly matched than most people might think. She couldn’t have been more correct.
Two of the three matches went to a decisive fifth set for a total of 13 sets, and all three teams finished .500 on the night in what was just more than five hours of back-and-forth volleyball at Billy Ryan Gym. While the first two matches were dogfights, Aubrey stunned the host team Ryan with a dominant 25-17, 25-11, 25-16 sweep in the nightcap.
Ryan (7-4) opened the night with a 25-21, 25-23, 20-25, 18-25, 15-8 win over Wilson (7-3), which rebounded to beat Aubrey 25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 16-25, 15-9 in the second match.
“They are all equal,” Hervey said. “It was just a matter of who was going to show up and who was going to take care of business. And in every game tonight, it was a different team that did that.”
Class 4A Aubrey was perhaps the biggest winner of the night as it went toe-to-toe with two Class 5A teams and at times showed the poise of a program that could make a decent playoff run. The Lady Chaparrals were also without Kaia Saylor, who broke her foot in last weekend’s tournament and is likely lost for the season. In her absence, Sydney Garrison had 23 kills to go with 18 digs. Katie Schmitz added 22 kills and Gracie Bell chipped in 69 assists.
“We are still learning. We have girls that will need to adapt and adjust to new roles, and we have younger girls who will need to step up,” Aubrey coach Whitney Stout said of moving forward without Saylor. “It will take us a while, but these girls expect to win. They are going to go out there and go to work.”
Meanwhile, Ryan will head into this weekend’s tournament games trying to figure out what happened Tuesday. While the Lady Raiders struggled with errors against Wilson, they were still competitive while jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the match. Wilson rebounded to force a decisive fifth set, but Ryan put the clamps down and rolled to a 15-8 win in that final frame.
That magic was nowhere to be found against Aubrey as Ryan finished with a .022 hitting percentage. On the night, they racked up 50 hitting errors. Krystal Barringer finished the night with 20 kills. Emma Sanchez had 16 and Halle Mitchell chipped in 19. Lauren Oyer had 32 assists. Aspen Benedict had 26 assists.
“That was ugly,” Hervey said of the loss to Aubrey. “[Aubrey] was scrappy and outplayed us. That’s for sure.”