CIBOLO – Boerne Champion may have swept Lockhart Monday at Steele in the first round of the 5A state volleyball playoffs, but the final score doesn’t really indicate how hard the Lady Chargers had to battle to get rid of the pesky Lions.
Champion, the No. 1 seed from 26-5A, won the match, 26-24, 25-20, 25-17, but they were trailing in all three sets and even started out the third set behind, 6-0, before closing it out against the No. 4 seed from 25-4A. The Chargers were able to rally late in each game and finish strong to overcome a slow start.
The Chargers are 27-15 overall. They’ll face Floresville in the next round Friday at Blossom in the Littleton Gym, 6 p.m.
Champion coach Jessica Tully-Mitchell said it was a combination of things that caused them to trail early in all three games.
“After watching them I knew Lockhart was going to be scrappy. They’re a good team, they knew where our holes were,” she said. “Only two or three of the girls on the team from last year saw court time so I have a new team that hasn’t been out on the court in this situation. I hope it was just nerves and I hope it’ll get better, it better get better.”
Champion was trailing for most of that first set. The Lions were up 21-18, but the Chargers managed to tie it at 22-22. It was knotted up at 24-all before Champion put it away with the final two points.
It was the same thing in the second set as the Lions and Chargers went back and forth. It was tied at 18-18 and then Champion went on a 7-2 run to close it out.
In the third set, the Lions jumped out to a 6-0 lead and were up 7-1 over the Chargers as they tried to extend their season. Tully-Mitchell didn’t call a timeout during that stretch and instead let her team play through it.
“There was nothing I could have said, they all know what they should have been doing and nothing in a timeout would have changed that, they’re smart girls,” she said. “We just had to get out of that rotation and get a side out.”
Champion went on a 7-1 run of its own to tie it at 8-8 and never trailed from there. The Chargers closed out the game with a 17-9 spurt to seal the victory.
“I’m glad they weren’t deterred by the score on the board and kept coming back,” the coach said.
Tully-Mitchell said they need to clean up some things if they’re going to have a deep run.
“Every team has seniors that it could be their last game. It’s the pressure of starting basketball or going into offseason. Nobody is going to hand it to us, we just have to get over that hump,” she said. “We have to clean it up and get the ball over and terminate.”
Marissa Drange led the team in kills with 15, Natalia Schluter added 6 kills, Allie Keen finished with 15 assists and Emma James tallied 12 assists, Mackenzie Davidson dropped in 3 aces and Hannah Relf had 2 aces, while Drange came up with 24 digs, Davidson totaled 21 digs and Schluter chipped in with 10 digs for the Lady Chargers.