If not for a first-set meltdown, Guyer easily could’ve scored a sweep over District 5-4A co-favorite Trophy Club Nelson on Tuesday.
But after what amounted to nothing more than a minor hiccup when they allowed Nelson to win the opening set after jumping out to a big lead, the Lady Wildcats rolled to a resounding win to take early control in the district race by beating the Lady Bobcats 22-25, 25-18, 25-22, 27-25.
“It was hard for us to lose [the first set] like that and come back, but we’ve worked on our mental toughness for a long time,” senior middle blocker Sydney Reyes said. “We’re just being mentally stronger, and it showed tonight. We really wanted that game.”
Last season, the district race came down to Nelson and Guyer, who split their two meetings, but the Lady Wildcats lost a match to Denton while Nelson’s only defeat was to Guyer, meaning the Lady Bobcats claimed the district championship.
The match Tuesday was one Guyer had circled on its calendar, but Lady Wildcats coach Addie Mack said it was a bonus to get the matchup out of the way early in district play, as opposed to last year when the teams met late in both rounds of district play.
“It feels good to get this win,” Mack said. “I was glad to get them [in the second district match] this year though and just get it over with so we can keep the girls focused.”
The Lady Wildcats (19-8, 2-0 district) used 17 kills from sophomore Emily Hill, while fellow sophomores Tabitha Spray and Mallory McKnight contributed six and five kills, respectively, and the Guyer blocking game was on point in keeping a dangerous Nelson attack under wraps.
In all, Guyer racked up three solo blocks and 18 block assists, led by Reyes’ one solo and seven assists.
“It was a big key tonight,” Reyes said of the Guyer block. “It throws off their offense and picks up the energy on the sideline to help keep us going.”
Nelson (12-16, 1-1) appeared to steal the momentum in the first set when the Lady Bobcats rallied from a 17-10 deficit to win the opening set, but from that point Guyer was able to control the match with its blocking and defense.
Hill led the team with 12 digs as Madison Walford chipped in with 11 and McKenzie Christopher added 10. Walford added 25 assists.
Guyer fought back in the fourth set when Nelson took a two-point lead at 19-17, attempting to force a fifth set, before a kill from Hill and some unforced Nelson errors gave Guyer a 23-20 lead.
At that point, the teams played to a stalemate for the final few points before two Nelson errors gave Guyer the set, the match and an early leg up in the district race, as Guyer hosts Fort Worth Brewer on Friday.
“It’s a good feeling to get this win,” Reyes said. “It’s the start of everything we’ve put together in practice really starting to come together for district play.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.