KRUM — It’s a different season but the same story for the Krum Lady Cats.
Last year, the Lady Cats were 1-3 in district play before they rallied to advance to the Class 2A regional quarterfinals, where they lost to Holliday.
The season, Krum again was 1-3 at the midway point of its District 9-3A slate, and finds itself back in the playoffs.
The Lady Cats swept Gainesville 25-13, 25-20, 25-20 on Tuesday night in their regular-season finale to finish in a second-place tie with the Lady Leopards behind district champion Decatur.
Krum (28-13, 4-4 District 9-3A) and Gainesville (30-10, 4-4) now will play at 6 p.m. Saturday in a one-game playoff in Gainesville, with the winner earning the district’s No. 2 seed in the 3A playoffs and the loser going in as the district’s No. 3 seed.
That was the best-case scenario for the Lady Cats. The win over Gainesville assured them of a spot in the playoffs. A Krum loss combined with a Sanger win would have a forced a one-game playoff between those two teams for the No. 3 seed, with the loser going home.
“They were ready to play,” Krum head coach Stacey Lucas said of her team. “Being senior night, they wanted to come out and finish strong. They knew what it was going to take. They had a taste of the playoffs last year, and it had been a goal for them all season to get back to the playoffs, especially being our first year in 3A.”
They’ll go into Saturday’s match having won five of their last six matches, inspired by the play and leadership of their four seniors — Ashleye Adkins, Cheyanne Bullock, Justice Dominguez and Kim Robinson.
The Lady Leopards are in the playoffs for the first time in seven years, a tremendous improvement for a program that was 1-9 in district action last year.
“We had a tough game tonight,” Gainesville coach Laura Mehl said. “We may have been caught up in all the excitement and the playoff atmosphere. I’m going to take the positive approach and hope this will be a little bit of a wake-up for us. I hope we realize that we have to always be ready to play.”
Krum was the team that came out ready to play. The Lady Cats jumped to a quick six-point lead in the first set and pushed their lead to 15-5 after scoring six straight, with five on serves by Jordan Crawford. Gainesville could get no closer than six the rest of the way.
Gainesville had its best showing to start the second set, leading early and then staying close midway through. The score was tied at 11 when Krum, behind the serving of Machala Noack, scored five straight points for a 16-11 lead. The Lady Leopards closed to within 16-14 on a kill by Brittany Royal before Krum reeled off three straight points. The Lady Cats pushed their lead 24-17 and held on for the win.
Krum opened a 14-6 lead in the third set, again with Crawford’s serving leading the way, including an ace. The Lady Cats never trailed in the set.
Crawford led Krum with seven kills and nine digs, and Robinson had seven kills, five digs and an ace. Noack finished with 16 assists, four kills and two aces, and Dominguez had five blocks and six kills.
Royal led Gainesville with five blocks and six kills, and Whytneigh Duffie added five kills and two blocks.