Guyer coach Addie Mack said Tuesday there were times in the past when she questioned how well her team could handle adversity. But in the same breath, she said those days are long gone.
The third-year coach was all smiles after the Lady Wildcats got caught up in a late Wichita Falls Rider rally only to rebound nicely for a 25-20, 25-15, 25-23 win. Guyer (23-8, 6-0 District 5-4A) notched its fifth sweep in district play and rides an 11-match win streak into Friday’s home contest against Denton.
“At the beginning of this season and even last year, I’d be freaking out in that situation, thinking we are about to go another set,” Mack said. “But these girls are rock solid. Our mentality has changed so much, so now I feel good about what our team is going to do in those situations.”
The district’s last remaining unbeaten team cruised through the first two sets, but the Lady Raiders (4-2 district) weren’t as easy an out in the final frame. Rider forced 10 lead changes and at one point held a 15-14 lead. Guyer rattled off an 8-2 run to claim its biggest lead of the set, 22-17, and still led by three when Mikayla Yates knocked down one of her seven kills to set up match point.
But Rider went on another short run and narrowed the Guyer lead to one point. Madison Walford finally ended the threat with a quick dump over the net for the kill and win.
Guyer got at least seven kills from four girls. Emily Hill led with 11 kills and five digs, and Sydney Reyes and Mallory McKnight added nine and eight kills, respectively. Walford finished with five kills and a hitting percentage of .714.
The Lady Wildcats’ Mallie Morris finished with a .667 hitting percentage while McKnight came in at .583. Jasmine Montemayor and Yates were at .500 and .462, respectively.
“All of our hitters were firing on all cylinders,” Mack said. “That includes some back-row players who don’t usually attack. Emily typically holds the fort down, but all of them were a threat tonight.”
Not knowing where the attack would come from made it rough for Rider early on. Early in the opening set, Guyer erased a one-point Rider lead with a 16-7 run for an eight-point advantage. Rider cut the lead to three points, but Walford and Tabitha Spray knocked down consecutive kills for the win.
In the second, Rider trailed by three before Guyer went on a 7-1 run for an 18-9 lead. The Lady Raiders never threatened after that, as Reyes, Spray and Yates each posted a kill to end the set with a 3-0 run.
“If we can get these girls to stay focused, hopefully we can come out as sole leaders on top of the leaderboard,” Mack said.