Volleyball: Pilot Point punts Pottsboro from playoffs

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GAINESVILLE — After seeing her team immediately fall behind 8-3 to Pottsboro, Pilot Point coach Becky Phillips called a timeout to give short pep talk.

“We had four of the six on the floor that had never been in a playoff game before,” Phillips said. “I told them going in there would be some nerves and it would take a minute to get our feet under us. I called the timeout and told them, ‘You know what you can do.’”

The message got through as the Lady Cats’ Abby Switzer put down a kill to start a 9-0 run and set Pilot Point on its way to a 25-15, 25-15, 25-13 sweep of the Pottsboro Lady Cardinals in a Class 2A Region II bi-district match.

Pilot Point (20-13) will play Godley in the area round at 7 p.m. Thursday at Trophy Club Nelson.

“It’s great to get the first one and have the sweep,” said Pilot Point senior Kirby Smith. “It gives us confidence.”

Smith led the Lady Cats with 13 kills, including five in the first set to help her team get going.

“I just tried to be best leader I could and tried to keep everyone up,” Smith said.

Phillips praised the senior.

“She started out strong and was on. If she wasn’t on, I don’t know if this would have been over as quick,” Phillips said.

Smith had plenty of help, including from libero Carson Doughty. She made 22 serves with three aces. Pilot Point scored 19 points in the rotation with Doughty serving.

“I love serving. It’s all I look forward too,” Doughty said. “[In that rotation] all of us were working together. If they got a ball over, we were ready for it.”

Pottsboro (21-12) struggled to get into its system, finishing with just 11 kills. Pottsboro never recorded a kill with Doughty serving.

“Her serves float and are hard to read,” Phillips said. “In practice, we have a hard time returning them.”

Doughty stepped to the service line after Switzer’s kill and served eight straight points to give Pilot Point a 12-8 lead in the first set.

Pilot Point middle blocker Ashtyn Richey put down three of her 10 kills in the rotation.

Pilot Point ended the first set with a 22-7 spurt.

The Lady Cats erased an early deficit again in set two. Richey started a 5-0 run to put Pilot Point up 14-7.

Pottsboro never got back within four. Marrisa Morris put Pilot Point up by two sets with a kill to finish off a 10-point victory.

Richey served three aces within five points to give Pilot Point a quick 6-1 lead in set three. Pottsboro capitalized on Pilot Point hitting errors to pull within 7-6, but the Lady Cats responded with a run with Doughty at the service line. Pilot Point reeled off seven straight points to go up 17-8.

Kills from Switzer and Smith put Pilot Point at match point. Mackenzie David put the finishing touch on the match with her lone ace.


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