They might not have left the gym with a win on Friday night, but Ellison seniors Kira Grenier and Bailey Wade did leave with some senior night gifts and most importantly, a playoff spot.
Despite Ellison’s 25-14, 25-14, 25-16 loss to Copperas Cove, the Lady Eagles are postseason bound thanks to Belton’s win over Killeen.
“We’re definitely going to go to the playoffs,” Grenier said before the team knew about Killeen’s loss. “I definitely have hope in us, we’ve just got to come out and fight.”
Kaeleana Hattix-Covington led Ellison (198-14, 7-6 District 8-5A) with seven kills while Asia Howard finished with 29 assists and four blocks. Grenier, who was also named Ellison’s homecoming queen, had six digs in her final regular season home match.
“I’d say that it was one of the best games that we’ve played,” Wade said. “There are things that we could have done a little bit better, we had some stuff we had to clean up, but I think we did well all together.”
Meanwhile, the win helps Cove (37-7, 12-1) keep pace with Waco Midway. The two teams are tied at the top of the district standings with one game remaining.
Cove senior middle blocker Bryaunea Hall finished with a team-best 11 kills while Qiana Canete, a UT-Arlington commit, added 10 kills and 10 digs and Mikayla Blount finished with 22 assists. Lexi Perez had a strong defensive game for Cove with 16 digs.
“We had moments of greatness, but (we were) a little bit erratic in how we played,” Cove coach Cari Lowery said.
The Lady Dawgs entered the match as the No. 22 team in the latest Texas Girls Coaches Association rankings, but the Lady Eagles hung in there early in each set.
Cove used a 12-0 run in Set 1 and 9-1 run in Set 2 to take back the lead in those frames.
“We looked good at most points, but sometimes we got caught in rotations that we could get out,” Ellison coach William De Gracia said. “It’s not just that they killed the ball, we made some mistakes, but you can’t take it away. Cove is Cove, awesome coaching and a solid team.”
Ellison made it more interesting in the third set when Brianna Gray’s final kill of the night sparked a 8-2 Lady Eagle run that cut the lead to 18-17 Cove.
After a timeout, Hall took over the last few points of the match.
She put down four consecutive big spikes form every side of the net and scored the final point that gave Cove a 25-17 win in Set 3.
Canete, Hall and Kianna Chipman combined for six blocks against Ellison.
“We did a lot of blocking in practice and I think that’s what coach Lowery wanted us to do in this game,” Canete said. “She wanted us to really shut them down with the blocks and I think we did it.”
Ellison finishes the regular season at Belton while Cove closes out the district schedule at Shoemaker on Tuesday. Ellison’s match will have no effect on the final district standings while Cove is looking to lock up at least a share of the district championship.