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Argyle returns to region tournament

Profile image for By Steve Gamel
By Steve Gamel

AUBREY — Same story, different verse.

Argyle is the defending Class 4A state champion and has not dropped a postseason set in its seemingly all-but-inevitable march back to the state tournament. Though Tuesday’s Region II quarterfinal against Melissa was competitive, the Lady Eagles’ firepower was on point when it mattered in a 25-17, 25-20, 25-16 sweep.

Belmont commit Halee Van Poppel finished with 14 kills and eight digs while Allison White, a Texas Tech pledge, poured in eight kills and five blocks to propel Argyle (37-10) to its fourth regional tournament in five seasons.

Argyle will face Paris North Lamar at 8 p.m. Friday in the semifinals at Mesquite Poteet.

“I knew this year might be a different story after we graduated a tremendous class of seniors last year, but I also knew the girls we had back would still be extremely competitive,” Argyle coach Clark Oberle said. “It feels really good to be back in this spot.”

Argyle has lost only 17 matches dating to the start of last season, and all were to opponents in higher classifications.

Melissa (28-13) lost to Argyle earlier this season with an injury-riddled roster. In Tuesday’s rematch, the Lady Cardinals again came up empty despite building slim leads in the first two sets and only trailing by five late in the third. Argyle used runs of 11-2 in the first set and 9-4 in the second to take a 2-0 match lead.

Leading 18-13 in the third, Argyle scored seven of the final 10 points.

“We knew when [Melissa’s Susan Blake] was on the back row, we needed to score as much as we could in that situation,” Oberle said. “When she was in the front row, we had to get a body on her immediately. Melissa has a good team with several offensive weapons.”

Should Argyle win its two regional tournament matches and advance to the state tournament, it would be the program’s third straight trip and fourth in five seasons.

“We haven’t had a chance to see much of [North Lamar],” Oberle said. “We will be ready to go at 8 p.m.”

By the numbers: Van Poppel added two aces as part of her big night while Lubbock Christian commit Maddie DeGuire chipped in with three assists and 10 digs. Alyssa Wallace added 11 digs, and Brittany Hamilton poured in 15 assists and eight digs. Kassidy Reeves had 14 assists.

Briefly: Argyle is 79-17 overall dating back to last season. … The last time Argyle lost to a team in its own classification was in the 2014 state final against Decatur. … Van Poppel, White and DeGuire are expected to sign national letters of intent this afternoon, the first day of the early signing period.