SALADO — Rachel Lee wanted to call a timeout.
The official even looked over to her expecting it. It never came. Deep down, she knew her team could fight through it.
The Salado volleyball coach was right. The Lady Eagles rallied from a 20-12 deficit to win Game 2 and eventually sweep the visiting Florence Lady Buffaloes 25-13, 25-23, 25-20 on Tuesday.
“I kind of let them duke it out and fight it out,” Lee said. “That is kind of my philosophy. You have to learn how to get out of those situations.
“Sometimes the official will look at me, and I’ll say ‘I am not calling (the timeout). I am not doing it. We are going to fight our way out of it.’”
Salado (14-12, 4-0 22-2A) didn’t have to fight for it in Game 1. The Lady Eagles ran away with it.
Florence’s Haley Pluenneke had back-to-back kills to pull the Lady Buffs within 8-6, but the Lady Eagles went on a 7-2 run to take control.
Florence (3-17, 0-4) pulled within 18-12, but a Shyenne Hicks kill down the line started another Salado run. This time it lasted until the end with the Lady Eagles scoring seven of the last eight points.
Salado had to make a run in Game 2.
Florence jumped up 4-0 following a kill by junior Rebecca Horton and pushed the lead to 14-7 after an ace by junior setter Shali Simpson, and 20-12 thanks to an ace by Hannah Hurley.
But that is where the Lady Buffs momentum ended.
“We were definitely behind,” Lee said. “What I liked is that we did not ever think we were behind. We had an air of confidence that we are very capable of getting out of that situation.”
Sophomore Hanah Perkins, who led the Lady Eagles with 19 assists, had a kill to end the Florence run and freshman outside hitter Cheyenne Vaca had back-to-back aces get Salado back into the game, 20-18.
Senior Madi DePriest came up with a big block to get the Lady Eagles within one and a drop shot by senior middle blocker Meredith Ward tied it at 20-20.
Hicks, who led Salado along with Vaca with 10 kills, narrowly missed a kill down the line that would have put Salado up 23-20, but came back moments later with a kill to midcourt that gave Salado game point at 24-23. The game ended on Horton’s attack that went into the net.
“We are still learning to play with the lead,” said Florence coach Brett Gola. “When the games get tight, we get tight. We have to understand that one point isn’t going to determine the match.”
In Game 3, Salado came out strong, taking a 14-7 lead after a kill by sophomore Taylor Atwood and an ace by Ward that just nipped the backline.
Florence cut the lead to 21-18 on a kill by Simpson, but Vaca sent a kill to midcourt and a pair of errors by the Lady Buffs ended the match.
“We played with a lot of heart tonight and a lot of hustle,” Gola said. “We just didn’t make plays when we needed to and execute.”
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569