Best ever

Lady Tigers advance to regional semifinal


Photo by Margaret Debenport

The Lady Tigers celebrate after scoring a point against the Joshua Lady Owls in the regional quarterfinal. They play the Wakeland Wolverines on Friday at Richardson Berkner High School at 5 p.m.

Story by John Morgan, sports editor

After a year of countless highlights and moments of history, the Lady Tigers are set to enter uncharted territory.

The volleyball team prevailed over the Joshua Lady Owls in four sets, 25-15, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23, on Tuesday night at Whitehouse High School in the regional quarterfinal. This marks the furthest the team has ever made it in the UIL playoffs.

“This means a lot because they are actually setting school history,” head coach Melissa Trotter-Hardy said. “For these girls, to put in so much work, heart and sacrifice shows them that they can win if they put the work in.”

The first set saw the Lady Tigers show a sense of urgency as they never trailed after the first three points. The opposite occurred in the second set as they got off to a sluggish start and was unable to rally back against a fierce effort from the Lady Owls to retain their lead.

A scary moment occurred on the first point of the third set as senior Kaitlyn Cross injured her ankle and was noticeably limping. She stayed in the game yet didn’t seem herself after missing a few kills. The Lady Tigers would storm back, however, as senior Treyaunna Rush came up huge down the stretch and Cross redeemed herself by scoring the final point to cap a 13-4 rally to end the set.

“Cross is a tough kid,” Hardy said. “She’s a senior, and she’s put in a lot of work so she was not coming to sit down. She was determined that she was going to win this game, and she was going to play her part.”

The fourth set belonged to Rush. After a slow start by the Lady Tigers, the Texas A&M commit had various kills and assists that helped to claw the team back into the game. Tied at 20, Rush, Cross and sophomore Cashlin Gooden reeled off four straight blocks to take a commanding lead. An unforced error by the Lady Owls on the final point sealed the victory.

“I am beyond excited that we have made it so far,” Cross said. “Making history like this is an indescribable feeling. I’m so proud of all the girls, and I know we can go all the way.”

This team can stake their claim as the best in Lady Tiger history as they move onto the regional semifinal. Despite being new to the scene, they don’t expect to be scared of the challenge.

“The teams we will face have been to state quite a few times,” Hardy said. “It’s familiar territory for them, and for us, it’s unfamiliar, but at the same time, if we go in, work hard and play like we have played, we can give them a run for their money. Anything can happen.”

The Lady Tigers will face the Wakeland Wolverines on Friday at Richardson Berkner High School at 5 p.m. If they win this game, they will move on to face either the Lucas Lovejoy Leopards or the Red Oak Hawks in the regional final on Saturday at 2 p.m.