MINEOLA — Pine Tree’s dip into the volleyball state playoffs was brief, but the experience afforded could pay huge dividends in the season’s ahead.
The Lady Pirates, representing District 16-5A as its fourth place entrant, ran into a well-disciplined outfit in the Greenville Lady Lions, coming into Monday’s bi-district contest as champions of District 15-5A.
Little doubt was left as to which team would reign supreme. The Lady Lions rolled to a decisive 25-15, 25-13, 25-14 straight set sweep of the Lady Pirates here at Mineola’s Yellow Jacket Gymnasium.
Greenville, winners in 10 of its last 12 matches, advances to Class 5A area action and improves to 28-13 overall. The Lady Lions are celebrating their first district championship in nearly 15 years.
Pine Tree, in its first year under Lacy Coldiron, closes the books on a 15-25 ledger.
Coldiron could take solace in how well her young ladies fought the more experienced Greenville girls. Pine Tree, which starts no less than five sophomores, showed a lot of grit and determination in each of the first halves of sets one and two.
“They battled really hard the first half of both sets. But about halfway through we got stuck in a rotation that was hard to get out of,” Coldiron explained. “We kept fighting and the girls played hard. They were all over the place scrambling for the ball.”
Pine Tree definitely made Greenville work hard for its points. The locked into several long volleys throughout the opening two sets.
Malaeka Wilson ran off three in a row and gave the Lady Pirates a 5-4 lead following a kill from Sam Sommerfeld.
There would be four ties in the first set before Greenville went on a 5-0 run behind the serving of Sydney Walker and a timely block and eventual kill shot from Brooke Hutchings. This grew a 15-11 lead to 20-11 and put the Lady Pirates on the ropes.
The second set, much like the first, saw a spirited fight from Pine Tree. After falling behind 4-0, the Lady Pirates rallied as Sommerfeld hammered home a kill after a Jamaya Davis serve. Pine Tree drew even when Taitum Barry dropped one over the net at 7-all. The Lady Pirates squared things at 9-all after a Sommerfeldserve and again at 10-all following a slam from Davis.
The Lady Lions, as they’d done in the opening set, reeled off a string of six unanswered and went from 14-11 up to a commanding 20-11 advantage. The third set wasn’t as close as the previous two as Greenville built a 14-4 lead on another 5-0 spurt.
Wilson led the Lady Pirates with a half dozen kills and four blocks, while Sommerfeld closed out her stellar varsity career with five kills.Tatum Cates managed a dozen digs and Davis was close behind with 11. Ryauna Davis handed out a team-best nine assists.