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Volleyball: Argyle, Krum to finally clash with state berth on line

MESQUITE -- Argyle and Krum are far from strangers. But the dream match that was three years in the making will finally happen Saturday with a trip to the state tournament on the line.

Argyle, last year's Class 4A state runner-up, will face District 9-4A champion Krum at 1 p.m. in the Region II final at Mesquite Poteet. The Lady Eagles will be looking for their fourth straight trip to state while Krum tries to earn its first by knocking off its arch nemesis. 

The teams split their regular-season series.

"We are completely confident. These girls want to face them," Krum coach Lynn Larson said. 

Krum (37-9) had its chance to face Argyle in the region final in each of the previous two seasons but lost in the region semifinals. 

On Friday, the Lady Cats swept Carthage 25-20, 25-11, 25-21. Earlier in the night, Argyle (25-18) cruised to a 25-15, 25-22, 25-17 win over Texarkana Pleasant Grove.

"Our win in the last round over Decatur was huge, but it wouldn't have meant a hill of beans if we came out and let this team wipe the floor with us," Argyle coach Megan DeGroot said. "We got this one under our belt, and this next one will be a barn burner, to say the least."

Each team came into the semifinals firing on all cylinders, and didn't let up under the bright lights.

Sophie Betzhold led Argyle with 10 kills while Paxton McGlinch and Mariah Hesselgesser each chipped in with eight. Danielle Davis added six kills and 16 digs. Kassidy Reeves had 32 assists.

That balance kept Pleasant Grove (28-14) from mounting any serious attack. Leading 13-11 in the first set, Argyle set the tone for the rest of the match with a 12-4 run to close that frame. The Lady Eagles trailed 4-1 in the ensuing set but rattled off a 14-3 run. Pleasant Grove rallied to take an 18-17 lead, but an 8-4 run gave Argyle the 2-0 lead in the match. 

Davis punched home the final kill in that second set, then scored her team's first four points of the third. Argyle used another dominating 12-2 run to put that set out of reach.

"I told the girls, this is your norm. You are used to being here," DeGroot said. "It's easy to take that for granted, but our girls didn't do that tonight."

In the nightcap, Krum didn't need near as much balance, as North Texas pledge Rhett Robinson continued her MVP-caliber season with 23 kills and six assisted blocks. As a team, the Lady Cats tallied 14 blocks. Tori Hamilton added seven kills and Reese Robinson chipped in six with 15 digs.

While Krum played solid throughout, it still had to battle in the final set to come away with the sweep. Carthage got eight kills from Mattison Doffitt and four each from Dekidra Pope, Savannah Gwinn and Carson Robertson. The Lady Bulldogs led for most of the third set and extended their lead to 15-11 before Krum started chipping away.

Trailing 19-17, Krum closed the match with an 8-2 run. 

"We had a lot of different people step up, especially our middles. We had a great blocking night," Larson said. "Overall, it was a very solid game."

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