When the Gainesville Lady Leopards called their final timeout in the third set of Tuesday night’s playoff match against Argyle, they were four points away from doing something that seemed highly unlikely at the start of the match.
Argyle cruised through two sets but struggled in the third set, leaving head coach Clark Oberle and the Lady Eagles wondering if Gainesville, a team that finished fourth in District 9-3A, was going to be able to steal a set away from one of the state’s top teams.
After the timeout, Argyle scored five straight points and picked up the 25-10, 25-14, 25-21 victory in the 3A Region II bi-district match at TWU’s Kitty Magee Arena.
Argyle (30-9) will face either Ferris or Nevada Community in the area round on Thursday at a site yet to be determined. The Lady Eagles swept Ferris in last year’s matchup between the two schools en route to the state tournament.
Gainesville led for most of the third set and at one point led 21-16 as Oberle had his arms crossed on the sideline.
Argyle closed the match by scoring nine straight points, finishing the match the same way it started.
“I guess we thought we had it in the bag and we relaxed just a little bit,” Oberle said. “And in this sport, when you start relaxing, that’s when bad things happen.”
Argyle came into the match as the No. 1 team in Class 3A, according to the Texas Girls Coaches Association. Last year the Eagles lost in the 3A state semifinals.
Sophomore Eighmy Dobbins and senior Brooke Robertson each had a team-high 13 kills. Senior Alyssa Bruton added seven kills, and junior Katy Keenan had four blocks.
Last year, Argyle sat out the first round of the playoffs after earning a bye during the bi-district round. But with four teams from each district advancing to the playoffs, Argyle was called into action against the Lady Leopards (19-21).
The Lady Eagles jumped out to commanding leads in each of the first two sets and never looked back. In the third set, the team that went undefeated in District 10-3A play for yet another year struggled.
“I think we were little surprised because they were playing us really scrappy, and I don’t know that we were expecting that necessarily,” Dobbins said. “I think, deep down we knew we could come back if we just played like we knew how to play, and I feel like we did a good job of that.”
The Lady Eagles came into the playoffs following a five-set victory over Burleson in a warmup match. Burleson is ranked No. 2 in 4A and went undefeated in District 8-4A this season.
Oberle said Tuesday’s struggles could benefit his team in its quest to reach the state tournament for a second straight year.
“Maybe in the long run that’ll be good for us; make us come from behind and face some adversity,” Oberle said. “Hopefully that’ll help us down the road.”
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