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Volleyball: Ryan sweeps Braswell, but both still have work before playoffs

After a high-stakes showdown to cap District 5-5A play, Ryan must play another match to determine the No. 1 seed while Braswell may get back into the playoffs despite playing what coach Allison Irvin called one of its worst matches of the year. 

Ryan's 25-12, 25-10, 25-21 sweep means the Lady Raiders remain tied with Wichita Falls Rider for first place. Those two teams will have a seeding match at 7 p.m. Friday at Bowie, with the winner earning the top seed going into playoffs. 

Meanwhile, Braswell's loss and Denton's loss to Sherman mean there's a three-team tie for fourth place.

Braswell, Denton and Denison will have a mini tournament to determine the final playoff spot.

"Details to come soon," said Braswell coach Allison Irvin, whose team is looking for its first playoff berth. "We're still alive, but this was our worst match of the year."

Braswell (22-16, 4-8 district) may have ended up in a tie for the final playoff spots regardless, but a win would have felt a lot better. Instead, the younger Lady Bengals looked overwhelmed considering what was on the line. It also didn't help that Ryan (29-12, 11-1) was at full strength and bent on making sure it didn't lose ground to Rider.

By the time Braswell started playing with Ryan in the third set, it was already in an 2-0 hole.

"We played like I wanted them to play knowing that we were heading into the playoffs," Ryan coach Nicole Hervey said. "When they came out and played with all that energy and momentum in Game 1, I knew my fiery team was here to play."

A key for Ryan was balance. Taylor Terry finished with 15 kills, three blocks and 11 digs. Kenzi Valadez added five aces and 15 digs, while Sarah Grant and Tori Kelly chipped in with 10 and seven kills, respectively. Ashley Schroeder poured in six kills, two blocks and nine digs. Taylor Brann added 37 assists, eight digs, two kills and an ace.

Braswell got seven kills from Taylor Curtis and five from Kinley Coward, but the Lady Bengals had seven serving errors and a team hitting percentage of .081. Braswell took a 18-15 lead late in the third set, but Ryan closed the match with a 10-3 run.

"We had been playing well and had a good warmup, so I thought the girls were ready to go," Irvin said. "But we started in a hole and we never could get out of it. Our passing just didn't work, and if that doesn't work, nothing is going to follow from there."

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.