SACHSE — The Tom Bean Lady Tomcats weren’t going to be just happy making the playoffs for the first time in school history. So they made an emphatic statement they were sticking around a little longer.
After Italy rallied to tie the match going into the third game, Tom Bean blew out the Lady Gladiators the rest of the way for a 25-18, 23-25, 25-6, 25-5 victory in a Class 2A Region II bi-district match at Sachse on Tuesday night.
“You know your team and what they are capable of doing,” Lady Tomcats head coach Dene Adams said. “The third and fourth game, that was who we are.”
Baylee Stautzenberger had 19 kills, seven aces and seven digs, Jillian Beck handed out 26 assists to go with eight kills and four aces, Taylor Whitehurst put down 10 aces and Cheyanne Worley added six kills and nine digs for Tom Bean (18-15), which will face Collinsville — a winner in five games against Chico — in the area round later this week.
The Lady Tomcats almost made history last season but they came up one victory short in the final district contest.
Now that they had arrived in the postseason, they were ready to show they belonged.
“That stayed with them. Having so many returners, they weren’t going to let that happen again. They are here to make a legacy,” Adams said. “That’s something we keep talking about. Let’s keep adding to the history.”
The fourth game was a continuation of the third — in that Tom Bean closed in dominating fashion. The Lady Tomcats scored the first four points, then Italy found itself trailing 9-5. From that point the Lady Tomcats scored the final 16 points, each once celebrated a little harder knowing that they were moving on.
If the Lady Tomcats were rattled by the way they saw Italy tied the match, they certainly didn’t show it in Game 3.
“That though always crosses your mind,” Adams said. “The first game we weren’t that consistent either. That’s not the way we play. I knew we could play better than that.”
Tom Bean scored seven of the first eight points and then ripped off 11 consecutive points for an 18-2 lead. With things already in hand, the Lady Tomcats got a little sloppy in the latter stages but Stautzenberger and Chloe Farrer notched points to close it out.
Italy broke to the early lead in Game 2 with the first five points, including back-to-back aces Brycelen Richards. Tom Bean called a timeout when it fell behind 8-3 and then began the process for scrapping for points. Worley had a kill, Jewel Mason followed with an ace and the Lady Tomcats were down 10-7. Italy picked up a point and then Tom Bean scored the next six, including three aces by Stautzenberger, for a 13-11 lead.
The rest of the game was extremely close. There were six ties, including at 21 and 23, the latter forced by Italy. The Lady Gladiators, after being down 23-21, were able to pull out the stanza after a pair of Tom Bean hitting errors.
The first game was close through the first 20 points as the teams came away with an even split. Tom Bean used a 7-0 spurt behind kills from Lexi Ellis, Beck and Stautzenberger during the stretch, which was capped with an ace by Worley, for an 18-12 lead.
The Lady Tomcats maintained the lead but Italy was able to trim the deficit. The Lady Gladiators pulled within 19-17 and were serving when Stautzenberger put down a kill, Worley followed with an ace and Tom Bean was able to close out the frame on a 6-1 run.