CORSICANA — Repeating as TAPPS Class 2A state champion, Calvary found that the road to a title usually gets more difficult rather than easier. Holding off hard-hitting Boerne Geneva in a rematch of last year’s final, Calvary won in five sets at Corsicana High School.
“We’ve talked all year — good teams score points too and it shouldn’t be a surprise when another team wins a game or set,” Calvary coach Jennifer Bramlett said. “We’re playing for a state championship. We know the other teams will be good, but I don’t think we ever doubted ourselves.”
Calvary swept Geneva in the state final in San Antonio last year. In the rematch, Calvary (29-13) won the first two sets, but Geneva (30-12) came charging back with convincing wins in the third and fourth sets. Taking just more than two hours, Calvary won 25-22, 26-24, 18-25, 15-25, 15-10.
“We were always confident,” Calvary senior Madeline Mayer said. “We wanted to win. We came out that fifth set determined to win.”
Geneva moved 6-1 sophomore Carson Collingwood in its rotation, and her middle kills led to wins in the third and fourth sets.
Countering the front-line movement to create favorable matchups, Calvary got the final set right. Senior Anna Hollingshead and junior Audrey Armstrong combined for a key block to make it 13-10 Calvary, and Mayer’s kill set up match point at 14-10.
Mayer played setter and middle blocker for Calvary this season.
“I called her in the summer and asked her if she thought she could play both,” Bramlett said. “That’s very demanding physically. It’s like she’s hitting every ball. She said ‘sure’ and started practicing as a setter that day. ”
Geneva, moving up in class after being a Class A power, was determined to make a fast start after struggling to gain points in last year’s final. In the first set, Geneva built a 12-7 lead behind the hitting of Collingwood, who would lead its offense throughout.
Calvary regrouped its defense and won the first set with an 11-4 run. Geneva’s last lead was 21-20 before the serving of senior Lexie Chamberlain set up points for Mayer and Hollingshead.
In the second set, Geneva pressed its way to a 24-22 lead but couldn’t finish. Calvary libero Kelly Crow led a strong back line while the Mayer-Hollingshead combination continued to rack up points. Calvary scored the final four points in a 26-24 set.
Needing a final-set victory, Calvary again closed out well, winning 11 of the last 17 points to win the fifth set after it was tied at 4.