High Five (in a row)

With wins over LBJ, Desoto, volleyball team ends Jason Landers tournament on a five-match win streak


Kristen Tibbetts

The team on the court and on the bench celebrate the team’s 2-1 victory over Desoto, the team’s fifth victory in a row and sixth in eight matches at the AISD Jason Landers Memorial tournament.

The varsity volleyball team’s reward for winning three straight matches at the AISD Jason Landers Memorial Invitational on Friday was an unexpected rivalry match with LBJ.

“We wanted to show them who we are and what we can do,” senior co-captain Lindsey Wiley said.

Ella Jane Larrimer
Sophomore Preslie Boswell had 22 kills in the victory over LBJ to go along with 12 digs, three blocks and two aces.

But the first set of the match this morning did not start out as planned; the team committed hitting and receiving errors. After falling behind, the Knights settled in and got back in the first set.

“We got a good pass, a good set and then we got a great kill and we kept pushing forward.”

But so did LBJ. The Jags closed out the first set 26-24, and the Knights were looking at a disappointing early exit from the knockout bracket. Instead of bowing out, however, the Knights buckled down.

“A lot of us were like, ‘We did not come back all that way to not win this match,” Wiley said. “We knew we needed to have a better start [to the second set] and make fewer errors, and we did.”

Fewer errors. More kills. “Preslie [Boswell] did awesome as usual,” Wiley said. “Sophia [Henderson] and Claire [Caudill] had some great sets. [Our] defense in the back row and serve/receive was pretty good, and [we] had some great blocks, too.”

The Knights picked up their game, but the Jags also continued to fight before yielding the final two sets and the match, 25-19, 25-22. The match-ending point came on an LBJ service error.

Video by Kristen Tibbetts.

Boswell ended the three-set match with 22 kills, 12 digs and three blocks and two aces. Wiley also had three aces along with 22 digs. Sophomore Bridget Russo added 11 digs of her own, and Henderson tallied 16 assists.

We have already jelled pretty well. I think we’ll surprise some people this season in a good way.

— Senior co-captain Lindsey Wiley

If the match was a preview of what the teams’ district encounters will be like, they should be must-see matches.

The Knights were not able to savor their rivalry victory for very long because immediately after the match ended, their next match, their eighth in three days, started against Desoto, a team that was hoping to win its eighth tournament match in a row.

The Knights won the first set, 25-19, and the Eagles won the second 25-20, forcing a winner-take-all third set.

“We just showed a lot of persistence and heart and didn’t give up,” said Wiley, who illustrated those very qualities with a one-handed dig (one of her match-high 14) while diving to the outside of the court to keep a point alive that the Knights eventually won.

“We came back from our errors and pushed through.” Wiley said that Boswell and Henderson played off each other well in the match. On some plays, Henderson would set Boswell for a kill. On others, Henderson would instead fake a set and dump the ball over the net to an empty space.

“I think all but one landed for our point,” Wiley said.

The final point of the match came on a long rally off a Boswell serve that included a dig by Wiley.

Video by Kristen Tibbetts.

For the match, Henderson had 10 assists and three aces, and Boswell 12 kills and eight digs. Caudill also had three aces to go with six digs and five assists. Wiley said that the young team, with only two seniors and five returning varsity players, is ahead of schedule.

Ella Jane Larrimer
After recording 22 digs and three aces in the morning victory over LBJ, Wiley added 14 more digs in the afternoon win over Desoto. Wiley is the team’s elder statesman, the only player with three years of varsity experience.

“We have already jelled pretty well,” Wiley said. “I think we’ll surprise some people this season in a good way.”

Wiley said she hopes for the team to return to the playoffs and give new district opponent Dripping Spring a run for its money.

“This season means the most to me because it’s my last year at Mac and could potentially be my last year of volleyball if I don’t play in college. I want to end my four years here accomplishing as much as possible as a team and individually. It will definitely be emotional as I start saying my goodbyes to volleyball here at McCallum. It’s like a sisterhood. You’re with them almost 24/7 during the season, and I’ll miss them … the coaches, the parents and the environment and rituals we do before home games.”

The next one of those by the way is not until Aug. 21 when the team hosts St. Stephens at 6:30 p.m. The team plays at St. Andrews on Tuesday and in the Bastrop tournament Thursday through Saturday.

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Photos by Ella Jane Larrimer and Kristen Tibbetts. Video by Kristen Tibbetts.