GARLAND — The Lady Wildcats went to the sideline knowing was at stake. They knew exactly how East Bernard was feeling after tying their Class 3A state semifinal match. And they were ready to make sure the Lady Brahmas were going to suffer the same fate Callisburg did at the same point a year ago.
“They could be what we were last year,” junior hitter Macie Satterwhite. “We can’t let up. We have to take control of this game right now. We decided to buckle down and get it done.”
The experience paid off for the Lady Wildcats, who closed out a 25-19, 20-25, 25-11, 26-24 victory against East Bernard in a Class 3A semifinal at the Curtis Culwell Center on Thursday afternoon.
“This year, having that year experience, it just really set us as ease because we knew what it was going to be like,” Callisburg head coach Angela Allen said. “We knew we had to come here and play our best volleyball. I feel like they showed a really good job of that today.”
The Lady Wildcats (42-3) will face defending champ Goliad (34-9), which outlasted Boyd in five games, for the state title at 11 a.m. on Saturday. It is the first final appearance for Callisburg in its fifth trip to state.
Skylar Allen set a Class 3A state tournament record with 31 kills and finished with 25 digs, Satterwhite added 21 kills and 19 digs, Lindsey Bullard totaled 48 assists, 12 digs and five kills and Chase Falgout collected 12 digs for the Lady Wildcats, who held a significant advantage in hitting percentage (.344 to .199).
Allen broke the mark of 30 kills by Holliday’s Morgan Lewis in 2012. Her 27 kills from last year against Goliad is now tied with three others for third.
East Bernard (26-15) was at state for the first time since 1994 and led by 25 kills from Jessica Rabius but no other Lady Brahma had double-digit kills.
The third set proved to be the pivotal one last year when Callisburg lost the first set, won the second and then Goliad took the last two to advance and ultimately win the title.
“Last year we were just along for the ride. We were at state because it was state,” Skylar Allen said. “We were so excited. This year we were here to do something.”
So this time when it played out almost the same way, the Lady Wildcats were ready to squash whatever momentum East Bernard felt was building after pulling even.
Callisburg never trailed in Game 3 after scoring the first four points and eight of the first 10. The Lady Brahmas found their bearings a bit and got the margin down to 11-6.
It was the closest East Bernard could muster. Savanah Hott put down a kill that capped a 6-0 run and gave Callisburg a 21-8 advantage. Allen had three kills in the closing stretch as the Lady Wildcats moved one game closer to the championship match.
“Everything was really smooth. We weren’t really laboring for anything,” Allen said.
Callisburg did have to fight to avoid a deciding fifth game. East Bernard scored on three straight match points to pull even at 24. But Allen put down two straight kills to end it.
Neither team managed a big lead in the early stages of Game 4. Rabius and Maycie Atteberry kept East Bernard within striking distance and after the Lady Brahmas went up 7-6, Callisburg jumped back in front.
East Bernard went up 15-13 after a 5-1 run but its last lead was at 16-15. A hitting error tied the score and Callisburg went in front on a Satterwhite kill.
Allen, Bullard and Satterwhite put down kills as the Lady Wildcats had a 21-19 advantage and it was 24-21 after two Allen kills. Callisburg had a hitting error, East Bernard picked up back-to-back kills and it looked like a fifth game was on tap before the Lady Wildcats cinched it.
“We took a timeout and told everyone to take a deep breath here. We’re in control of this match,” Allen said. “We gotta get a pass; we’ve gotta be aggressive here. You can’t pull back at the end of the match.”
The Lady Brahmas tied the match after taking a Game 2 that saw Callisburg never manage a lead. A 4-0 burst by East Bernard gave it a 9-5 advantage and then when Callisburg got within a point at 10-9, it looked like a replay of the opening game.
This time, however, East Bernard was able to keep the Lady Wildcats from the game-changing run.
Callisburg did force a pair of ties, the last at 15, but East Bernard had an answer for each point. The Lady Brahmas took control when they earned four of five points to go up 21-17. Allen put down a kill over a block and Satterwhite and Hott combined on a block as the Lady Wildcats made it 21-19.
A service error followed and then a net error pushed East Bernard to the brink of a tie and Rabius did the honors with a kill after Allen’s kill staved off an initial game point.
East Bernard jumped out to the lead in Game 1 and build an 8-5 advantage before Callisburg used a 6-0 run that put them in front for good at 11-10 and pushed margin to 13-10. Kenna Novicke had a kill which cut the Lady Brahmas’ deficit to two points at 14-12 but East Bernard would never get closer.
Allen had a pair of kills during a 5-1 spurt that gave the Lady Wildcats a 21-14 lead. The Lady Brahmas fended off a pair of game points but a service error clinched things for Callisburg. Allen had eight kills during the frame and Satterwhite was right behind with seven.