RED OAK — Highland Park put together perhaps its best three sets of volleyball this season on Tuesday, and as a result, the Lady Scots kept their Class 6A postseason run alive.
HP swept powerhouse Waco Midway, 25-15, 25-21, 27-25, to advance to the Region II semifinals, where it will face The Woodlands on Friday afternoon in Huntsville.
“We were pretty consistent,” said HP coach Michael Dearman. “We want to play our best right now, and I think we’re doing that.”
The Lady Scots (31-15) started fast and kept the Pantherettes (37-9) off balance for much of the night. In the first set, HP dominated in each phase of the game, whether it was sharp serving that caused Midway to scramble, or powerful net play, or digs to keep points alive.
The Lady Scots sprinted to a 9-3 lead in the opening frame, and by the time Allegra Munoz punctuated the longest rally of the match with a kill down the line, the advantage surged to 20-12.
HP maintained a smaller lead for much of the second set. Munoz followed a kill with a service ace midway through the set, and Peyton Eisnaugle supplied the kill on set point.
The Pantherettes showed some resiliency in the third set, taking an 11-10 advantage on an ace from Allye Beth Deaton. Midway’s improved play at the net — led by Allison Jones on the right side and Miranda Youmans in the middle — coincided with some attack errors by HP.
In fact, the Pantherettes led 20-15 late in the third set before the Lady Scots rallied. Midway staved off two match points before Falyn Reaugh — whose powerful left-handed swing was effective throughout the match — recorded consecutive kills to end it.
“The girls were very prepared for this,” Dearman said. “We took advantage of the areas we thought we could, and it paid off.”
Even if his current players couldn’t relate, Dearman admitted he felt some extra satisfaction in ousting Midway after the Pantherettes eliminated the Lady Scots in the 4A regional quarterfinals in both 2006 and 2007.
“I thought about it a lot,” he said, “so this feels good.”