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Volleyball: Argyle shocks Glen Rose to advance to state final

GARLAND — Glen Rose entered the Class 4A state tournament with a near-perfect record of 48-1, but Argyle had one thing the Lady Tigers didn't.

Tradition.   

While the Lady Eagles (26-18) took some time to find a rhythm this season, they quickly returned to the level of play the program has grown accustomed to when the playoffs rolled around. 

Competing in its fourth straight state tournament, Argyle shocked the Lady Tigers in five sets 25-22, 25-19, 22-25, 23-25, 15-13 at the Curtis Culwell Center on Thursday night.

"It really hasn't hit me yet," Argyle coach Megan DeGroot said. "It could have gone either way. I'm just so happy it went in our favor today. I think the first two games that tradition made a huge difference."

The match went down as one of the most exciting of the day in Garland, as the teams went back and forth throughout the night before the Lady Eagles were able to claim the victory. 

It took big performances from several players who stepped up at the right time to get the job done, but in the end it was sophomore Mariah Hesselgesser who came up with the final kill to give Argyle a win in the fifth set. 

Hesselgesser finished with a team-high 15 kills, but the Lady Eagles had three other players — Paxton McGlinch, Danielle Davis and Sophie Betzhold — with at least 13 kills. Kassidy Reeves led the way with 50 assists. 

"I don't even know how to put this into words," Hesselgesser said. "It's just so awesome. It fires me up." 

While Argyle's record may have looked out of place standing next to that of Glen Rose, the Lady Eagles wasted little time proving they belonged on the court. 

After Argyle took a commanding 21-13 lead in the first set, Glen Rose stormed back behind Logan Smith, who finished with a match-high 22 kills. Smith brought the Lady Tigers within 24-22 before a Hesselgesser kill put the finishing touches on the opening set. 

The Lady Eagles, who entered the night 21-3 when winning the first set this season, again capitalized by putting their opponent in a hole. It was the first set Glen Rose dropped in the playoffs. 

"We're generally not a team to jump out and have a big lead," DeGroot said. "But when we have a lead we like to keep it." 

The Lady Eagles did just that. 

Back-to-back aces from Alyssa Wallace sparked another win in Set 2 for Argyle, but Glen Rose wasn't going down without a fight. 

The Lady Tigers won the next two sets, sending the game to a decisive fifth set. It went back and forth with both crowds energized and on their feet from start to finish, but Argyle made the plays it needed to in order to advance. 

The Lady Eagles will take on the winner of Friday morning's match between Needville and Liberty Hill at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. 

"I know we're going, but I'm just trying to wrap my brain around it," DeGroot said. "I'm very proud of our girls. We keep peaking and we keep progressing. Today was our best game yet, and I hope Saturday will be even better."