Lady Pirates secure second seed against Graford
Perrin fought back after losing the first set in the match against Graford Oct. 29, winning their senior night match 3-1 to earn a second-place finish in the district.
The first set was back-and-forth throughout as the Lady Pirates and the Rabbits traded leads to 9-9. Graford jumped ahead with two missed Perrin spikes but the Lady Pirates came back with a kill from Kelli Tucker, followed by two aces from Tucker and two more kills from Aaliyah Brown bringing the Lady Pirate lead to 14-11.
The teams traded points again, tying at 18, 21, 22, 23 and 24 before a carry was called on Perrin’s Nayeli Lopez to give the Rabbits a 25-24 lead. Tucker hit her next spike into the net for a Graford 26-24 victory and an early 1-0 lead.
The Lady Pirates held nothing back in the second set, taking an early lead after a short serve by Graford and never giving it up. Perrin took an early 8-3 lead when Pacie Mcgee came to serve.
Mcgee served for nine points, including two aces and had help from two Tucker kills as well as a block and a kill from Lopez. The Lady Pirates kept the set out of reach winning 25-6 to tie the match 1-1.
Coach Rebekah Bland said she was proud of how her girls played in the second set. She said now that everyone is healthy she went back to the way the team normally plays.
“We went back to our normal rotation (in the) second set,” Bland said. “Kamryn (Staggs) and Savannah (Burkett) were both back today and they brought a lot. Staggs is a super smart player and Burkett is quick so having that combination of smartness and quickness is a positive.”
Perrin fell behind early in the third set, trailing 5-11 before Lopez came to serve. Lopez served five aces including four straight before serving out of bounds to give Perrin a 14-12 lead. The Rabbits would keep the score close but Perrin came out on top 25-21 to take a 2-1 lead.
The fourth set was much like the last with the score being tied 8-8 before a net serve by Graford allowed Lopez to serve for the Lady Pirates. Lopez had two more aces and the Lady Pirates did not give up the lead after that. Kelli Tucker came in to serve later in the set with a strong service game, winning six points and picking up an ace to make the lead 19-13.
The Lady Pirates kept that lead through the rest of the set, with Lopez coming to serve up 23-20. Another ace would give Perrin match point and the Lady Pirates would win it on a kill from Tatum Collier.
Tucker, the lone senior on the team, said she has not felt the reality that this was her last home game. She said playoffs means she can keep playing with her teammates and friends.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Tucker said. “We’re still going to playoffs so it’s not over yet.”
In the middle of Tucker’s interview with the Jacksboro Herald-Gazette a group of students started chanting her name. Tucker said she had not cried yet, but that experience made her eyes water.
“It means everything to have support like this,” she said. “To go out like this, now I want to cry.”
After the interview, Tucker said she went back to the locker room and cried with her teammates.
The Lady Pirates play Harrold on Monday, Nov. 4 at Olney at 6:30(not played as of press time). Coach Bland said the schedule is going to be tough due to Tucker running at the state cross country meet Nov 9.
“We tried to schedule the game on Monday because we have to play Thursday instead of Friday,” Bland said. “(Tucker) is heading to (Round Rock) on Friday so we have a little bit of a weird schedule.”
Bland said despite what happens in the playoffs she is happy with the way the season played out. She said everything from here on out is “icing on the cake.”