Aubrey coach Lisa Deaver was looking to see if her team had changed in Tuesday night’s playoff match against Decatur.
Deaver, in her first year at Aubrey, was closely watching the demeanor of her team, wondering if her players could withstand the pressure of playing against one of the state’s top teams.
The Lady Chaparrals were able to play well early, but Decatur still strolled to a 25-17, 25-12, 25-9 win in a Class 3A Region II bi-district match at Ryan.
Decatur (35-7) showed why it’s ranked No. 4 by the Texas Girls Coaches Association and closed the match with 11 straight points to advance to face Bonham in the area round.
“We had some unforced errors as the games went on,” Deaver said. “But earlier we really didn’t, and that’s what kept us in there. It was all about ball control.
“We didn’t force enough errors early on where we may have had an opportunity, but if that’s the extent of the nerves we’re going to show, that’s huge progress.”
Aubrey, which finished fourth in District 10-3A with a 2-6 record, made its first playoff appearance since moving up to Class 3A. Aubrey’s last playoff appearance ended when the Lady Chaps lost to Poth in the 2009 Class 2A state final.
Aubrey sophomore Bay Thomas led the team with four kills. Seniors Paige Bisi and Natalie Gattuso and sophomore Hannah Schmitz each tallied three kills.
Decatur junior Makayla Mayfield had a game-high 12 kills.
Aubrey’s back row was led defensively by juniors Kenzie Sanders and Brooklin Housden, a big reason why the Lady Chaparrals made things interesting early on.
Aubrey played well and forced some extended rallies in the first two sets before Decatur closed Aubrey’s season.
Bisi, a four-year starter, said making the postseason was a great way to cap her high school career.
“It was the best thing that could happen for anyone’s senior year,” Bisi said. “And being the first team from Aubrey to make the 3A playoffs, it was a big honor. It was really nice.”
Bisi, Gattuso and senior Gracie Chauncey were on a young squad that was able to find some self-belief toward the end of the season, resulting in a postseason appearance in Deaver’s first year.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this group,” Deaver said. “Tonight, to me, they overcame the obstacle I’ve wanted to see them overcoming, which is face a very talented team, play your hearts out and not be intimidated.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.