Guyer's Regan Nash

Guyer's Regan Nash (12) celebrates with her teammates after winning their state 6A Region I semifinal match against Arlington Martin on Friday in Haltom City. Denton will advance to the finals. 

HALTOM CITY — Guyer punched its ticket to Saturday’s Class 6A Region I final in dramatic fashion by beating Arlington Martin in five sets, 25-11, 27-25, 16-25, 21-25, 15-11 on Friday night. And as expected, District 5-6A rival Trophy Club Nelson and its star-studded lineup will be right there to meet them with a trip to the state tournament on the line.

With several Guyer players and coaches watching, Nelson swept El Paso Montwood in its region semifinal match to set up the third meeting this season between two of the top volleyball programs in the state.

The region final is set for 1 p.m. back at W.G. Thomas Coliseum. It is Guyer’s first-ever appearance in a region final.

“I think this is an exciting opportunity for us to step up,” Guyer coach Heather Van Noy said. Her team lost both district meetings to the Lady Bobcats. “It’s really hard to beat a team three times in a season, and we are playing our best volleyball right now. These girls are stepping up, and I know we are capable.”

Van Noy has every reason to believe her team can pull off an upset. Guyer (35-8) has only lost three sets this postseason and overcame an Arlington Martin team that arguably had all the momentum going into the decisive fifth set. The Lady Warriors had just climbed back from an 0-2 hole in the match with near-perfect play.

Needing a spark, Guyer turned to junior Jordyn Williams. The Kentucky pledge accounted for seven of Guyer’s points in that final frame, including five of the team’s first six points. She finished the night with 19 kills and four blocks.

Leading 11-9, Guyer scored four of the next six points for the win.

Behind Williams’ big night, Brooke Slusser, an Alabama commit, added 18 kills. Maggie Walsh chipped in 14 with 36 digs. Bailey Samide had 33 assists.

No one in Thomas Coliseum saw this match going five sets based on how it started. Guyer unloaded on an error-prone Martin to win the first set 25-11. Martin (33-9) led the second set 19-14, but Guyer chipped away and ultimately took a 2-0 match lead. That’s when things started to turn.

As the third set wore on, Martin was making fewer mistakes and continually found ways to keep possessions alive. The Lady Warriors won that set to stave off elimination, then dominated Guyer in the fourth.

But with their season on the line, the Lady Wildcats found a way to win.

And get one more crack at Nelson.

“[Martin] stopped making errors, and that was the biggest difference in the match. We found a way,” Van Noy said. “This is huge for this program. This group of girls is very special.”

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 469-360-3611 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

Recommended for you