WACO — For the last four postseasons, the Gatesville Lady Hornets became a mainstay in the regional quarterfinals, but quarterfinal run No. 5 was not meant to be this year.
Despite 16 kills and three blocks from Kayla McGiboney and Lexi Hall’s six digs and two blocks, Gatesville’s season came to an end with a 25-21, 29-27, 25-17 loss to the Alvarado Lady Indians in the Class 3A, Region I bi-district playoffs on Tuesday at Waco High School.
“I told our kids, remember this feeling because it should be your incentive and your motivation between now and August of next year to do something about it,” Gatesville coach Rickey Phillips said.
The Lady Indians (23-11) returned the favor after being swept by the Lady Hornets in the bi-district playoffs a year ago. Alvarado advances to play either No. 11 Iowa Park or Mineral Wells in the area playoff round later this week.
Junior defensive specialist Makaylee Mueller had 12 digs while junior middle blocker Brianna Poe added eight kills.
“We want to get way farther than we did this year and not just come to play a playoff game,” Mueller said. “We want to go on to more playoff games.”
After dropping the opening frame, things got worse for the Lady Hornets (23-17) after the Lady Indians scored eight straight points to take an 8-1 lead.
The Lady Hornets were able to cut the lead to 16-11, and then Poe took over the middle of the offensive court.
Her spike from the left side sparked an 8-3 run. During that span, Poe had five kills and two blocks.
The ending to Game 2 had the Gatesville and Alvarado fans trading cheers with each roller coaster point.
Alvarado forced game point twice at 24-23 and 25-24 before Gatesville took control and forced game point at 26-25 and 27-26. But Alvarado did a better job closing things out and taking a two games to nothing lead.
After an attacking error tied things up at 27-27, Alvarado senior middle blocker Lian Dool blocked a consecutive Gatesville kill attempts to put the game away 29-27.
“The kids did a good job and it looked like we were going to win Game 2, we just didn’t go finish,” Phillips said.
Gatesville wouldn’t go away quietly in the third and final game as the Lady Hornets and Lady Indians played to four lead changes and seven ties through the first 22 points.
But Alvarado middle blocker Shelby Frazier’s ninth kill of the match gave the Lady Indians a 13-12 lead and sparked a 9-2 run.
“She’s a good hitter and good blocker,” McGiboney said about Frazier. “I had to hit angles around her, but I was hitting right into the block. Most of it was my fault.”
Serve-receive was Gatesville’s trouble during that span as Alvarado took control of the match after a serving error and two straight aces by Bailie Abney made it 17-13 Alvarado in Game 3.
Despite the loss, Lady Hornets gained valuable playoff experience for the 2014 season.
Gatesville graduates only two seniors and had nine juniors in the lineup that helped the Lady Hornets make the playoffs for an 11th consecutive year.