By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
HAMILTON - The Killeen Lady Roos took nothing about Granbury at face value; not their record, not their district success and not their intimidating warm-ups.
If Granbury was the better team, then it would have to prove it.
The Lady Pirates' serving stepped up to the line and accepted that challenge.
Madison Martin served eight of Granbury's 12 aces, keeping the Lady Roos' offense from ever really establishing a rhythm and the Lady Pirates swept Killeen out of the 4A playoffs with a 25-13, 25-8, 25-13 bi-district win at Hamilton High School on Tuesday.
"They had already sized us up and looked at our record and staring at us when walked in. I said, 'Make them appreciate who you are. Make them realize you are very worthy of being out here,' so they came out fighting," Killeen coach Shelly Harris said.
"They've just got that one good server, and you know as well as I do, if you've got one good server, we have a tough time. ... One server, sometimes, is all it takes against us."
Granbury (27-14) has now won 14 straight matches since its only District 7-4A loss - a four-game loss to fellow district co-champion Burleson - but Harris told the Lady Roos not to lose to the on-paper Lady Pirates.
"(Coach Harris) told us about how they'd probably already sized us up because in the program, our record was on there," said senior Chelsey Smith, "but we know our record does not define who we are. So, we came out as one team, we came out with one mind and one goal that was to win this game."
Having made the playoffs for the first time since 2005, Killeen (15-16) traded points with the Lady Pirates, but Granbury's Laiken Britt served five straight points to give the Lady Pirates a 13-7 lead, mostly on Killeen return errors. Martin, Shannon Helm and Granbury's hitters then stretched the lead to 10, 19-9. Killeen senior Crystal Ellis had a pair of kills to break up the Lady Pirates' scoring run.
But Martin's first two serves of the match then went for aces, giving the Lady Pirates a 22-11 lead and Britt had three kills in the final five points to close out Game 1. Killeen simply had no answer for any facet of the Lady Pirates' attacks in Game 2.
Granbury had 13 kills to Killeen's three and Martin had three of the Lady Pirates' four aces in the game. After a Johlicia Williams block cut Granbury's lead to 9-3, the Lady Pirates essentially put the game away with an 11-0 run that two Killeen timeouts failed to stall. Maegen Cobos and Tiare Dugger had back-to-back kills late that cut Granbury's lead to 22-7, but the Lady Roos' only offensive point after that came off a Granbury kill shot that sailed wide.
"After Game 2, we were like, 'We still have three games left, let's go.' It was either all or nothing on this court," Smith said. "This is our senior year, we didn't want to leave saying 'I wish I would've done this,' or 'I regret this.' We had to put everything on the court and fight for every ball."
Getting blocks from Williams, Ellis and Dugger, the Lady Roos led Game 3 4-2, but Martin put herself on the line with a kill then proceeded to fire off eight straight points, including three aces, to give the Lady Pirates a 10-4 lead. An ace by Amy Vickers and a kill from Ellis cut Granbury's lead to 16-10, but the Lady Pirates scored nine of the last 12 points to reach the second round of the playoffs, where they will face a Saginaw Boswell that won the teams' last match-up in four games.
"This year, I think we came out more wanting it," said Ellis. "We played more as a team. We all had one goal - to play hard, win or lose, hopefully win. It was a lot different than last year."