By Alex Byington

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS - Ashlyn Osborne couldn't explain how it happened.

Of course, after watching her Lady Knights volleyball team shake off an early deficit and rally for a 25-17, 25-13, 25-21 sweep of the visiting Lady Cougars, she didn't care much either.

"I don't even know," the Harker Heights senior setter laughed of her awkward match-clinching kill.

As if encompassing the back-and-forth Game 3 in a single possession, both squads were locked into a game of hot potato with the ball, tipping it to-and-fro over the net.

Simply trying to keep the ball alive, Osborne defensively flicked her wrist, barely making contact with the tips of her fingers to send it weakly sailing over the huddled heads of the Waco Connally front line for match point.

"That (last) point was very interesting," said Osborne, who led the Lady Knights with 12 assists. "I think we got a little shaken - we all started stressing out a little bit, and it just kinda happened. I can't really say I did it on purpose or anything like that."

Whether she meant to do it or not was inconsequential. All that mattered was the come-from-behind victory, something the Lady Knights (7-4) struggled with last season.

"Last year we were really bad about when we got (behind), we really got down," Osborne said of trailing 13-8 in the final game. "This year we've got a lot better, (so) that when we start making errors, when we start missing serves, not making our points, we pick ourselves up and help each other out."

That was certainly the case as Heights cruised through the first two games. Led by strong front row play from 5-foot-6 senior Starnisha Bodie and the 5-10 junior duo of Deysia Burden and Anjane Janda, the Lady Knights managed to bail themselves out of several not-so-costly unforced errors.

Spreading the love, Bodie lead all scorers with eight kills and four blocks, while Burden had five kills and five blocks and Janda added five kills and two aces.

"We're doing a good job of moving our hitters around," Heights third-year coach Chris Wiley said. "A good block - and (Connally) had a couple of good, strong middles who could but up a good block - but it's about believing in your swing, taking it when you get the shot, and then just putting it in an area."

Game 3 was a different story though.

The Lady Cougars mounted a quick 7-1 lead thanks to five Heights unforced errors, prompting Wiley to call an early timeout.

"It's about not panicking. If you fall behind and go into instant panic-mode, you're dead, you're sunk," Wiley said. "This team doesn't have the tendency to do that."

Both teams traded points as Heights cut the deficit to 8-7 before three consecutive errors stretched it to 13-8.

But with back-to-back set-kills by Janda and Bodie, the Lady Knights rallied back scoring 10 of the next 15 points to tie it at 18-all.

From there, junior Jordan Denney scored a back-row kill and Burden followed with a happy-birthday kill to take the lead, allowing Osborne to win the day with just a flick of her wrist.

"Having the goal of making a run to the playoffs, sometimes you have to have lucky balls happen," Wiley said.

Contact Alex Byington at or (254) 501-7566.

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