By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS – Entering the second half of the District 12-5A schedule, the Harker Heights volleyball team had dreams of being considered among those still on the playoff bubble.
But squaring off against a perennial contender in Bryan, the Lady Knights had their bubble burst with a quick 25-6, 25-20, 25-14 sweep Tuesday night at Knight Gym.
"It was disappointing. We felt like we were in a better position to do some better things and we were looking to get them here on our home court and being able to make a difference," said first-year Heights coach Chris Wiley. "But we didn't handle our business tonight."
Following a three-game sweep of Ellison last Friday night, Heights (9-15, 2-6) felt ready to emerge down the district stretch. Bryan (15-14, 6-2), though, showed the Lady Knights still have a ways to go.
"We've had some big wins this year against some of the teams in Killeen, but we need to broaden our horizons," Wiley said. "We need to go out and get those wins against Belton and Temple and Cove and Bryan, and even (A&M) Consol(idated)."
Jumping out to an early lead, the Lady Vikings enforced their collective will on the overmatched Lady Knights, scoring 20 of the first 24 points thanks to the strong play of Tiffany Regmund and Reagan Boenker. Both single-handedly accounted for 11 points, with Regmund earning five of her team-high 18 kills and one of her team-high six aces in the first game.
While closer, the powerful spikes of the Bryan front line were too much for Heights to overcome. After falling behind 19-11, the Lady Knights battled back, with junior Bianca Patterson serving to score seven consecutive points and bring the score to 19-18. But Regmund again got into the act, closing out the victory with three kills and an ace for Bryan's final four points.
The third game was more of the same as all but the first point for Heights came courtesy of errors by Bryan, with the Lady Vikings' big front three continuing their heavy-handed play.
Also contributing for Bryan were Boenker, with eight kills and three aces, and Kaylee Piatt, who had 33 assists, seven digs and four blocks.
Leading the Lady Knights were Patterson and Dakota Kelley, who each had four kills while Kelley added eight blocks, along with Darcy Parks and Taylor Denney, who had eight digs and seven assists, respectively.
Still among the bottom three in the standings, sitting right above one-win Ellison and Shoemaker, Wiley says the team needs to change it's mind-set if it's going to turn the season around.
"We've got to come out and believe. We've got to know in our heart that we can play and compete with anybody," Wiley said. "When you've been at a point like we have in the last couple of years, it gets real hard to break through that edge."
Contact Alex Byington at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (254) 501-7566.