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LONGVIEW, Texas — Texas High begins its playoff season in volleyball tonight against Lufkin.

The Lady Tigers (10-6) finished second in District 15-5A with a 9-3 record, and the Lady Panthers (14-7) were third in DIstrict 16-5A. The teams clash at 7 p.m. at Spring Hill's Panther Gym.

"Lufkin is similar to us; they run a lot of plays out of the middle and have some good outside hitters," THS coach Melissa Hardy said. "We're fairly evenly matched, so it's going to come down to which team serves most aggressively and who executes the offense.

"With the season everyone has gone through (with COVID-19 issues), there are a lot of variables that teams don't usually deal with entering the playoffs. I have confidence in our girls that they're going to show up ready to play, are focused and play our style of volleyball."

Middle blocker Ashlyn Stiger and hitter Cashlin Gooden are the seniors for Texas High. Bella Cherry and Lauren Allred rotate at setter, Jaycee Kennedy subs in at blocker, and Valeria Perez and Ashanti Northcross are defensive specialists.

Logan Pilgreen, Cy Hopkins and Emma Prince help at outside hitter, along with Mally Lumpkin, Kailyn Williams and Mollie Fisher.

"The girls have developed a lot; this group of girls have seen what it takes to win," Hardy said. "They were with us two years ago when we made the regional semifinals. They know what it takes; it's just about being disciplined and staying focused.

"In the second half of district, we were leading and we got every opponent's best game. We have a good idea of our gameplan, and we need to keep our focus to go out and execute."

The winner advances to the area round to play either Midlothian or Forney next week.

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