The Lady Grey Wolves played cleanly on their home court, committing few errors, but the sheer power of District 8-5A co-leader Copperas Cove was too much for Shoemaker to handle.
The Lady Bulldawgs won 25-5, 25-16, 25-11 in both teams’ final match of the regular season.
“The kids worked really hard,” said Copperas Cove coach Cari Lowery. “They’re really committed. They believe in me and bought into the program and they do everything I ask them to do. That’s how you get (to the playoffs): Just work harder than everybody else.”
The Lady Bulldawgs (38-7, 13-1 District 8-5A) will play Waco Midway at 6 p.m. Friday at Temple High School to determine the district’s first playoff spot.
The Lady Grey Wolves (20-19, 4-10) finished above .500 for the first time in school history, translating to that team’s
best overall record since Shoemaker opened in the fall of 2000.
Copperas Cove earned 71 percent of its points on kills and aces. Qiana Canate dominated with 24 kills and one ace.
“In the first game, we started off really strong,” she said. “I think that’s what pushed us to keep working hard throughout the next two games.”
Shoemaker committed only 21 errors through 107 total points.
Cove started the match on a 9-0 run with two Mikayla Blount aces and kills by Bryaunea Hall, Canete, Blount and Kiana Chipman. The Lady Bulldawgs went on a 7-0 run — which included a Destiny Henderson ace and several kills by Canete and Destinee Branch — and a 4-0 set-closing run, behind two more Canete kills.
The Lady Grey Wolves showed flair in the second set, starting with a 2-1 lead after two straight Aria Price kills.
Two additional Canete kills contributed to Cove’s 5-0 response, before Price helped her team claw back to 7-6.
But the Lady Bulldawgs steadily increased their lead, until a Cove attack error and a Trinity Person ace brought Shoemaker to 15-18.
But Blount and Canete then contributed to three straight Cove kills, before Ciara Cheadle’s kill sealed the second set’s 25th point.
The Lady Bulldawgs nailed 15 kills in the final set.
Down 22-11 in the final set, enthused Shoemaker coach Merdith Shaw-Moore shouted encouraging words at her team as its season drew to a close.
“They learned that they can be just as good as everybody else in this district,” Shaw-Moore said of her players. “There are no machines in this district. Everyone’s a volleyball player. Out of the whole season, I think they got the fact that they can be competitive.”
For Copperas Cove, Hall had 12 kills, Blount added 24 assists and Lexi Perez notched 13 digs in the match.
For Shoemaker, Price had eight kills and five blocks, Anessa Pitts added 17 digs and Gabriela Sierra had seven assists.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to play hard and set the tone of Shoemaker volleyball,” Shaw-Moore said. “We didn’t make the playoffs, but we did make history here at Shoemaker High School by creating the best volleyball season this school has ever had.”
“We’re going to take it and build off of it for next year and just roll with it.”