Frisco Lone Star stole the first set on Tuesday night, and the match looked like it might be a little different than the three-set victory Sanger had earned earlier this season.
But big runs and a versatile offense fueled a Sanger (27-11) win in four sets (23-25, 25-17, 25-11, 25-18) over Lone Star (12-23) to move on from the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
“We’re young and this is the first time any of them have ever been to the playoffs,” Lady Indians head coach Tammy Niemcyzk said. “We came out nervous, and Lone Star came out strong. They fought hard that first game, but once we calmed down and realized it’s just another volleyball game, it got a lot better.”
It’s the first trip to the playoffs in Niemcyzk’s three years of coaching, after her team narrowly missed last season.
In a first set that was close the whole way, Lone Star pulled out the win when senior Miranda Garza’s next serve hit the top of the net and fell to the floor for the winning point.
But a couple of five-point runs gave Sanger the second set to tie the match, and a huge 16-1 start in the third set was enough to take a 2-1 lead. With the scored tied at 8-8 in the final set, the Lady Indians pulled ahead to win the match.
“Any time you get a big run, it puts the momentum your way,” Niemcyzk said.
Morgan Turkoly had a triple-double for Sanger, registering 13 kills, 17 assists and 12 digs. Senior Kayla Askey recorded 22 kills and five blocks, while Jaylen Pegues added 11 kills and 11 digs.
Niemcyzk said having such a varied offense gives Sanger an advantage.
“We have lots of girls who can put down the ball,” she said. “I have two really good setters who read the blockers real well and give them lots of opportunities, too.”
For Lone Star head coach Kelly Carl, she is happy with the team’s season as a whole.
“We graduated a lot of seniors [from last season], a lot of powerful people,” she said. “We had seniors this year who stepped up, filled that role and did a good job.”
Sanger advances to the next round, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Frisco Heritage Gym.