Killeen High is a smaller team, as it only boasts nine players on its roster, and its depth is tested in lengthy matches. 

But despite that, the Lady Kangaroos were able to find an extra gear and outlast Shoemaker 3-2 (25-20, 10-25, 25-10, 23-25, 15-12) on the road Tuesday in a back-and-forth District 8-6A battle.

Alia Vines led Killeen (19-10, 2-2 8-6A) offensively with 25 kills and six service aces, followed by Tiara Joyner with 14 kills.

Jacen Moore dished out 24 assists and registered six kills, while Sadee Songer had 22 assists and 13 digs.

“We were up, then we were down,” Moore said of the match. “We had to keep each other up because if one person got down, it would bring everyone down. We can’t beat ourselves up, because it’s a game of runs.

"Being such a small team, we were very tired going to five sets, but we didn’t come this far to lose.”

Janelle Etherly has become a versatile player the Lady Roos depend heavily upon. The 5-foot-3, jack-of-all-trades recorded 12 digs, three kills, three aces and 2.5 blocks. One of her blocks secured the match-winning point in Set 5.

“I just wanted to finish the match, and I knew we had to get it,” Etherly said. “So I just decided to go for it. We really had to push ourselves through tonight.”

Killeen started the match strong, as it jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the opening set behind Vines and Moore on the front row and Etherly at the service line.

The Lady Grey Wolves (18-11, 1-2) fought back to pull to within three, at 17-14, but the Lady Roos put the pedal down and won the set by five to go up 1-0 in the match.

Set 2 was all Shoemaker, however. The Lady Wolves were led by Charlene Shepherd, Nicole Pena and Reagan Felton in a 15-point rout to tie the match up at 1.

Just as Shoemaker went on a massive run in the second set, Killeen did the same in the third. Vines, Songer, Joyner and Moore were too much to handle offensively, and the Lady Roos snagged a convincing 15-point win to take a 2-1 match advantage.

Killeen continued its strong play in Set 4, as it scored the first five points to put the pressure on the Lady Wolves. But Shoemaker replied with a kill apiece by Alexia Wilkinson and Felton, an ace by Pena and an attack error on the Lady Roos to pull within one, at 5-4.

The two teams then traded leads until Shepherd registered a kill off a set by Pena to put the Lady Wolves up 16-15. From there, Shoemaker did not trail again on their way to winning the set by two to force a fifth.

Once again, the two teams slugged back and forth, but an ace by Joyner put Killeen up 10-9 in the deciding set. Vines then registered two kills and a block down the stretch, and the Lady Roos scored five of the next eight points to win the set by three and capture the match.

For the Lady Wolves, Shepherd racked up 21 kills, five digs and three blocks, and Wilkinson added 17 kills.

Pena dished out 25 assists and had nine digs, while Felton had 12 digs, 12 assists and 10 kills for a triple-double.

Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously spent time as sports editor at both the Hereford Brand and the Gatesville Messenger. Graduate of West Texas A&M University.

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