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Tom Bean makes program history

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
The Tom Bean volleyball team advanced to the region semifinals for the first time in program history with its third-round win over Rio Vista.

LAKE WORTH — It was a comeback no one saw coming, because how can you see a rally like the one the Lady Tomcats pulled off happening?

The situation doesn’t call for heroics. It calls for regrouping. When you are down by seven and the opponent needs just one more point to finish off the game, hope can be lost.

Rio Vista certainly didn’t see it coming. The Lady Eagles were on the verge of taking control of the match but Tom Bean proved it wouldn’t go quietly in Game 3, let alone go away at all.

“Before the season, the seniors got together and the motto they came up with was ‘make them notice,’” Tom Bean head coach Dene Adams said. “Their goal was to make everybody notice. That was the best motto these seniors could have come up with.”

The Lady Tomcats fended off seven straight game points and ended the frame on a 9-0 run before closing out Rio Vista in four, 25-27, 25-21, 26-24, 25-19, in a Class 2A Region II quarterfinal match.

Tom Bean (22-4) advanced to the region semifinals and will face defending state champion Crawford (29-3) on Monday night at Ennis for a berth in the region final.

It is the first appearance in the fourth round for the program. Its only other time in the region quarterfinals had been in 2017 when this senior class of Chloe Farrer, Kyndle Selman, Kaitlyn Lind and Morgan Stroud was freshmen.

“Us four, we wanted it so bad. We work hard every day,” Farrer said. “We have a very competitive team. It’s amazing. It gives me chills.”

Farrer had 18 kills, 19 digs and three blocks, Lind added 13 kills, six blocks and three digs, Selman chipped in 11 kills and nine digs, Stroud collected 25 digs, Raylynn Adams handed out 48 assists to go with eight digs, Emma Lowing totaled nine kills, 12 digs and four blocks, Laramie Worley finished with 29 digs and five kills and Delaney Lemming contributed 21 digs for the Lady Tomcats, who have won 20 straight matches.

Haila Linton and Abby Patterson led the attack for Rio Vista (19-8), which was in the region quarterfinals for the first time since 2004.

The Lady Eagles looked to be in good shape to continue their successful season. After the teams split the first two games, they scored four of the first five points and were building up a lead in Game 3. Tom Bean had a couple of service errors to help that along and Rio Vista led 18-11.

The ensuing margins were almost equally as bleak to foretell a comeback — 20-14, 21-16, 23-17. Miscommunication by the Lady Cats let a ball drop and put Rio Vista a point away. It was nearly an insurmountable lead but Tom Bean tried anyway.

Three straight hitting errors from the Lady Eagles opened the door but it was still 24-20. Then Farrer notched three straight kills and it wasn’t unthinkable anymore now that Tom Bean was down by just a point.

“You could see it in their faces,” Adams said. “You have to believe in yourself and believe in the team. There wasn’t any doubt. You do your job and continue to fight and good things can happen.”

Another Rio Vista hitting error tied the score and the next one put the Lady Tomcats ahead for the first time in the game. Worley landed an ace, the ninth straight Tom Bean point, and the comeback was complete.

“That’s a great rotation and our back row was amazing,” Farrer said. “We kept pushing until it was ours.”

Rio Vista didn’t let the emotion of that ending hurt its start in Game 4. The Lady Eagles were up 6-5 when Tom Bean took control for good. Farrer started a 9-1 run, which opened with six straight points, and Selman finished it for a 13-8 advantage.

The closest Rio Vista could get was four points three times, the last at 18-14 before Lowing and Selman had back-to-back kills. Lind ended up slamming down the clinching point.

In Game 2, the Lady Tomcats took the lead at 7-6 and never gave it back. A 5-1 burst punctuated by a Lowing block made it 17-12 and provided some cushion. Rio Vista pulled within a point at 19-18 but the push to take the lead stopped there. Farrer had an ace between a pair of Lady Eagle hitting errors and the margin was back to four. Selman and Worley finished it off with kills and the match was tied.

Game 1 was back and forth. Rio Vista had the early lead. Tom Bean used a 5-0 run behind Farrer and Lind to turn a 14-12 deficit into a 17-14 advantage, only for the Lady Eagles to bounce back with four straight points to jump back in front.

Neither side had more than a two-point lead the rest of the frame. There were five ties in that span and the Lady Tomcats missed two opportunities to clinch the game, the last at 25-24, before Rio Vista was able to take it.

Region Quarterfinals

Class 2A Region II

Tom Bean            3

Rio Vista              1