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Volleyball: Guyer clinches playoff berth with five-set win over Plano East

All Guyer needed was a win over Plano East on Tuesday night to clinch a playoff spot in the crowded District 6-6A.

It wasn't easy, as the Lady Wildcats faced a 2-1 deficit heading into a must-win fourth set. But Guyer rallied in dramatic fashion to claim a thrilling 25-14, 23-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-11 win in the regular-season finale.

The Lady Wildcats finished in a three-way tie for second place but will advance to the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. Plano and Allen have head-to-head tiebreakers over Guyer.

"I'm so relieved and overwhelmed," Guyer coach Heather Van Noy said. "This is an extremely competitive district. I'm really proud we were able to battle against that and make playoffs."

Guyer dominated the opening set, using four runs of at least four points to gain control. But in the second set, the Lady Panthers got the Lady Wildcats out of their rhythm.

Plano East's 6-6 middle blocker Lauren Dooley, who has committed to Florida, forced Guyer to adjust its approach. After dropping Sets 2 and 3, the Lady Wildcats made a few necessary changes to bounce back. 

Junior Rachel Tullos and freshman Jordyn Williams stepped up, finishing with a combined 25 kills to guide the Lady Wildcats past the challenges Dooley presented.

"That can be frustrating and can shut some players down," Van Noy said. "I was just super proud of the way Rachel and Jordyn were able to find ways to score. They just needed to get the ball in play, and they did a great job of that in the fourth and fifth sets."

After winning the fourth set 25-23 on an ace from LSU commit Kate Cowan, Guyer got off to a slow start in the decisive fifth set. Plano East led 5-2 before the Wildcats responded with four straight points to grab the lead.

The Lady Panthers drew within 13-11 before Guyer closed things out with back-to-back points.

"We needed to fight," Tullos said. "We had to keep fighting — that was the message today. And we pulled it out in the end. It was great."

The come-from-behind win pushes Guyer back into the playoffs under Van Noy in her first season as head coach after the team missed the postseason last year. Guyer will play the No. 1 seed from District 5-6A, Hebron — the defending Class 6A champion — in the first round at a time and location to be determined.

"It's a big, big thing, especially for our seniors," Tullos said. "To be able to keep playing with them is a big thing for us. We were all about to tear up when we won that game. It was great."