Fillies volleyball team rallies to punch ticket to national tournament
Nov. 5, 2017 at 11:33 p.m.
Updated Nov. 6, 2017 at 7:54 a.m.
CARTHAGE – Amber McCray didn't have a chance to talk to her team following a first-set loss here Sunday.
Turns out, the Panola College Fillies decided the time for talking was done.
Defending regional tournament champion Panola rallied from a set down, storming back to defeat San Jacinto, 25-27, 25-15, 28-26, 27-15 at the Region XIV Conference Volleyball Tournament at Arthur Johnson Gymnasium.
The win guarantees the Fillies (25-6) a return trip to the NJCAA National Tournament, set for Nov. 16-18 in Hutchinson, Kansas.
San Jacinto ends its season with a 26-7 record.
"This one is sweet," said McCray, who led the Fillies to a seventh-place finish at the national tournament a year ago. "This year has been up and down, and we haven't played well at home at times.
"We told the girls after losing to Tyler (in a battle for the regular-season title) that we still had a chance for redemption, and the girls got it today."
After losing the first set, the Fillies gathered in a corner away from the bench and then came out to blast the Ravens in the next frame to tie the match.
"It can get really loud in here, and if they need to do that sometimes to get focused, they move to the corner," McRay said.
It worked in a big way. After tying the match with the easy win in set two, the Fillies rallied from six down in the third set to go up by one and then survived a wild fourth frame to punch their ticket to Kansas.
Rebecca Rabius led the way at the net with 14 kills. Kaitlyn Adams added 11 kills, Thaynara Godoi 10 and Barbara Sabino nine kills and nine blocks. Melanie Casteel added eight kills, Cayman Sutton 30 assists and 14 digs, Molly Harris 20 assists and 10 digs, Hannah Ramirez 19 digs, Jaqueline da Silva 16 digs and seven kills and Camie Copeland eight digs.
Maddie Rhoder had 14 kills, Morrani Maire 21 assists and Addie Bryant 18 digs in the loss for San Jacinto.
The first set featured eight ties, with neither team leading by more than three at any time during the frame.
A 10-0 run early in the second set gave Panola firm control and led to a tied match, but it was tight the rest of the way.
San Jacinto led 14-8 after a kill by Savannah Sheridan in third set, but the Fillies tied things at 14, and it was knotted at 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 25 and 26 before an error on San Jac set up game point, and a da Silva and Gadoi combo block ended things.
The final set featured 12 ties, the last coming at 25 apiece. A kill by Sabino off a dish from Harris was followed by a Godoi hammer to end it and send the Fillies back to the national tournament.
(Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports)