PASADENA — The Stafford Lady Spartans put up some early resistance but the Orangefield Lady Bobcats still showed their might in the Class 3A Region III area round playoffs Thursday night at Pasadena Dobie High School.
Orangefield dealt with the feisty Lady Spartans’ scrappiness the first two games to go on and post a 25-19, 25-23, 25-7 victory.
The Lady Bobcats (27-6), District 21-3A champions, will now face the Liberty Lady Panthers in the Region III quarterfinals Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Beaumont Ozen High School. Liberty disposed of Houston Sterling Thursday.
Jennifer McManus led the Lady Bobcat surge Thursday night. McManus powered her way to 16 kills while also contributing 10 service points and a whopping five aces.
“Stafford was scrappy and we started a little sluggish,” said McManus. “We put together a few nice runs to take the first game and made big plays at the end in Game Two. Game Three showed what we’re capable of when we’re on our game. Stafford had several good players. They reminded me a lot of West Orange-Stark.”
Morgan Moss blasted her way to nine kills for the Lady Bobcats. Marisa Bishop had an outstanding match with seven kills. Rylie Granger once again set up the offense well and had four kills while Sammi Burgess had three kills.
“The kids definitely showed some jitters and were on edge early on,” said Orangefield coach Meagan Adams. “I was even jittery, it’s the first playoff game I’ve ever coached in. You always like to get that first one under your belt. The kids, they were nervous all day, then we got stuck awhile on Beltway 8 coming in. It took us awhile to get it going but they accomplished what they came here to do.”
Libero Kacey LeBlanc had another splendid game on defense and found time to put together 11 service points and an ace. Megan Burton posted eight points and two aces. Rylie Granger netted seven points and two aces while Holly Granger had four points and Haleigh Turley added two.
Sophomore Kiara Holloway paced the Lady Spartans (17-10) with seven kills. Ruby Tarble and Lindsey Johnson had four kills apiece while Becca Munoz added three.
Calloway and Tarble scored five service points apiece while Munoz had four points and an ace.
The Lady Bobcats built up a 19-11 edge in Game One only to watch the Lady Spartans pull to within 20-17.
Orangefield quickly piled up four straight points and Bishop finished the game with a kill.
Orangefield built a 7-2 edge in Game Three but Stafford whittled away at the lead and a Calloway smash tied it at 20-20.
The Lady Bobcats scored three of the next four points with Moss having two kills in the run to lead 24-21.
Stafford got to within 24-23 thanks to a Calloway kill but the Lady Bobcats took all the momentum when Rylie Granger set up McManus with a blistering kill to seal it.
The Lady Spartans imploded in Game Three.
Orangefield led 6-4 and LeBlanc promptly served up five straight points to make it 11-4. After Stafford scored another point, the Lady Bobcats, behind four kills by McManus, scored the next seven points to easily pull away and win the match.
Next up, the Liberty Lady Panthers, a team the Lady Bobcats defeated in three straight games to win the YMBL Tournament earlier this season.
“Liberty has a pretty good team and they’ve won two big playoff matches already,” said Adams. “We’ve just got to continue to build on what we’ve accomplished thus far. The kids, they’re really focused on the task in front of them. They’re not looking past anybody.”
“We’re taking one step at a time,” said McManus. “Liberty is going to be a challenge for us but we know we can do it. We’ve been dreaming of winning district and going far in the playoffs, further than any Orangefield team has gone before. We just gotta keep our goals high and work together and we can go a long way.”