WACO—The Llano High volleyball Jackets’ season ended, November 1, in an area-round loss to Springtown. But this fine season will be remembered for a return to the playoffs, a victory in the postseason for just the second time in school history, and the promise that next year’s squad is stocked—not just with experience, but talented experience.
“We were so nervous,” said Cierra Jordan, “but we didn’t want to show it.”
And the Glen Rose Tigers wouldn’t have discovered it with Columbus as a guide.
Amanda Morgan, Lacey Redden, and Jordan had kills on the Midway High School court, and when CJ used two hands to dot the sideline, it was 8-3, Jackets. Morgan would add a picturesque, no-look—Magic Johnson would’ve been proud—drop shot, but the lead dwindled to 14-12.
Let’s have a nice round of applause for server Jessica Wunderlich.
Her first jump-blast line drive tickled the net, but sank for an ace. Three more punishing Wunders followed, and then an out ball by The Rose, and a last ace for the road. The advantage ballooned to 20-12.
“I had so much adrenaline,” declared Jessica. “I’ve never jumped that high or hit that hard.”
Ever seen that before, coach? “No! Once in a blue moon,” a not-at-all-blue Shawn Sweeten responded.
The Ladies from district 7-AAA got as close as 23-20, but the Black and Orange captured the opening set 25-21.
Claire Williams, Cierra Caffey, and Angela Jackson joined the highlight parade in this middle exchange. Llano roared to a 9-1 lead, while the Tiger teeth yearned for broth over beef.
“We were picture-perfect the first two games,” Sweeten insisted.
Jordan, who had 13 kills for the night, mentioned a most-interesting workout regimen: “We practiced hitting basketballs with our hands,” she advised. Makes sense. Should make a volleyball feel like a soft badminton birdie.
25-15 was the final of the second contest.
Cheyenne Swenson was en route to 15 assists, while Caffey had 13 digs.
No easy path back to the bus in this one. Glen Rose put thorns in the Jackets’ side to grab a 10-7 upper hand. But LHS went on an 8-3 run to go up by two. A Christy Vassar save preceded a CJ kill, and it was 24-20. Four match points to a bi-district crown.
Not so fast.
“Nerves and butterflies got to us,” explained Caffey. And maybe the service. Huh? No, not the Tiger serves, but what happened at the Olive Garden. Huh, again? It seems the pregame meal, usually three or four hours before the match begins, was maybe an hour before. One source told me it took more than a little while for the food to get to the table.
I should send this story to the Food Network!
Glen Rose, hungry for a fourth game, cut the deficit to 24-22..
Sweeten called time, but told reporters she wasn’t too concerned. “They were coaching themselves.”
That didn’t help during the next two points, and the game was even at 24.
An unforced error gave the Jackets another match point, and a Morgan serve will remain forever as never returned to sender. 26-24 was the scoreboard’s last telegram.
“We sucked it up,” Jordan asserted. “We fought for it,” Caffey added.
“Wunder and CJ took the bull by the horns,” Sweeten praised. “Without fear, they led us in the right direction.” And wasn’t this a great night for those captains, girls who have played four sports for four years—and this was their first-ever playoff win.
Springtown would end the run with a 25-14, 25-22, and 25-21 triumph, but Sweeten noted: “We played every point with shear guts and determination and fire and passion.
“These Ladies represented Llano very well tonight.
“I’m proud to be a Yellow Jacket.”