LONGVIEW, Texas — Texas High's offense never found the consistency it needed, and the Lady Tigers fell to Lufkin, 25-13, 25-22, 25-21, in the bi-district volleyball match Thursday at Spring Hill High School.
The Lady Panthers took commanding leads in the first and second sets, although THS rallied back in the second, and the teams traded punch for punch in the third before a late burst sent Lufkin to the area round.
The Panthers (15-7) advance to face either Midlothian or Forney next week. Texas High's season ends at 10-7.
"We weren't working together as a team tonight," Lady Tiger head coach Melissa Hardy said. "It was just one of those nights when we didn't play well. I can say that I'm extremely proud of all the girls for this season, just because of COVID and so many variables we couldn't control."
Lufkin grabbed the early momentum and never let go, scoring five consecutive points three different times in the first set. The Panthers held leads of 7-1, 17-8 and 22-10 at the end of each long rally.
The teams traded out the final six points, giving Lufkin the first set.
The Panthers again pulled ahead quickly in the second, but the Tigers rallied back to get within two (9-7). Lufkin scored 6 of 7 and 10 of 14 to gain leads of 15-8 and 19-11.
Texas High clawed its way back by scoring 8 of 10 to get within two (21-19) but never any closer. The teams traded point for point from there, the Panthers going up two sets.
The Tigers took their first lead of the match early in the third set (3-2) and after Lufkin held 3-point leads twice, THS scored six in a row to go up 13-10. The Panthers responded with their own 6-point rally to regain the lead.
Texas High tied the score at 17- and 21-all, but Lufkin scored the next four to complete the match.
"After a down year last year, and for us to finish second (in district) was a great achievement," Hardy said. "One of their goals was to place in the top three. Although we fell short tonight, and we didn't accomplish the goal we wanted to achieve for our seniors and as a team, we have a lot to build on for next year."
Ashlyn Stiger led the Tigers at the line with 12 points, and she also had seven kills and three blocks. Stiger and Cashlin Gooden are the seniors for THS.
Logan Pilgreen served 11 winners, and Bella Cherry had nine. Jaycee Kennedy and Emma Prince each swatted five kills, and Kennedy also had three blocks.
Libby Flores led Lufkin with 15 service points, and Catera Brown and Morgan Kier each served 14. Kelby Coutee had five kills and two blocks for the Panthers, and Courtney Morgan added four kills and a block.