WILLS POINT — Quick work is exactly what the 6th ranked Sabine Lady Cardinals made of their opposition for much of the 2019 volleyball season.
The Commerce Lady Tigers, however, wove a much different story here Thursday evening in the Class 3A Area playoffs.
A combined 31 kills from seniors Mya Wilson and Allie Wittkopf enabled Commerce to upset Sabine in a five-set thriller 25-13, 21-25, 21-25, 25-15, 15-11.
The Lady Cardinals had won 21 of their last 22 matches coming into play. They had prevailed in an astonishing 36 of 40 sets along the way.
Sabine ends its season 39-6 while Commerce improves to 30-11. The Lady Tigers will face Tatum in a Class 3A regional quarterfinals match Tuesday at Pittsburg.
Commerce looked impressive taking set one, but Sabine responded by winning sets two and three by identical 25-21 scores.
There were five ties and two lead changes in the fourth set before Commerce took command with consecutive kills Wilson and Savannah Shaw for an 11-7 lead.
Sabine sophomore Aubree McCann kept things interesting with 13 kills of her own. Senior Mikinzi Cantrell went out with a flurry of 15 kills for the Lady Cardinals.
Cantrell came through with kill to break the serve Commerce’s Landry Davidson at 1-1 in the decisive fifth set.
Wittkopf managed a block of Cantrell at 2-1 and Savannah Shaw served Commerce to a 5-1 lead before Sabine asked for a timeout.
Sophomore Maddie Furrh, who tallied seven kills, put one in the back corner for Sabine at 2-5. Cantrell slipped in a kill shot to make it 3-5.
Wittkopf, who finished with 14 kills, literally pushed a shot to the back row to break serve at 6-3.
Wilson, who led everyone with 17 kills, punched a shot to make it 7-4 and forcing Sabine to take a second timeout.
McCann and Furrh posted back-to-back blocks as the Lady Cardinals pulled within 8-10.
Davidson managed a dump to break serve for Commerce and send Shaw to the stripe at 11-8.
Wittkopf rose up to block a kill by McCann as the Lady Tigers moved closer to the upset.
Sabine junior Ryanne Stuart put one to the floor one last time as the Lady Cardinals continued to show fight.
“I feel like we tensed up a little at the end and let things get in our head too much,” said Sabine coach Kristen Reaves.
“We were trying so hard and wanted to win so bad. Instead of just little things happen naturally, we were forcing things.
“But I’m super proud of my girls.”