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Ropes
10 a.m. Sat.
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Wellman-Union
7:30 p.m.
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Follett
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Trinity Christian
New Mexico Military
Canceled
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Stephenville volleyball overcomes 2-game deficit to eliminate Cooper

Lady Pirates end season 28-9 after deepest playoff run in school history

Posted: November 10, 2012 - 12:28am  |  Updated: November 10, 2012 - 1:52am
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Cooper's Kendra Hill(5) and Torey Kay react after falling to Stephenville in their Class 3A Region I semifinal game on Friday in Snyder. (Zach Long)  Zach Long
Zach Long
Cooper's Kendra Hill(5) and Torey Kay react after falling to Stephenville in their Class 3A Region I semifinal game on Friday in Snyder. (Zach Long)

SNYDER — Despite a devastating five-set loss in the Region I-3A volleyball semifinals on Friday afternoon, senior Lady Pirate Kati Macha wouldn’t trade her experience this season for anything.

The senior libero had a team-high 28 digs in a heartbreaking loss to Stephenville, a match that saw Cooper jump to a two-game lead before losing three straight.

With tears still fresh in her eyes after the match, Macha could do nothing but praise the journey she went on with her teammates during the last season.

“Getting to spend time together, work hard and just growing and knowing that each step we got better and better, (was the best part),” Macha said.

“We were unstoppable for a time.”

The five-set loss (18-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 15-10) ends the furthest playoff run in Cooper volleyball history.

The Lady Pirates were mere points away from advancing to the regional final against Abilene Wylie, which defeated Springtown in straight sets earlier in the day.

Cooper was the better team for two-and-a-half set Friday, but a 10-3 lead in the third set — and an almost insurmountable deficit for the Honeybees — quickly turned sour.

However, the Lady Pirates weren’t focusing on the “what ifs?” after the loss.

“No doubt about it, we played awesome,” said senior Summer Wilson, who led all players with 14 kills. “It’s amazing that we’ve got this far, and we deserve it. I think we are as good as (Stephenville) or even better. We just had a couple glitches here or there, a few mistakes. We played amazing, out of our minds and I’m glad we got here.”

Cooper made quick work of the Honeybees in the opening set, building an eight-point advantage late in the set and riding the momentum into a close second-set win.

The Lady Pirates looked like they were well on their way to a date with No. 1 Wylie, but the Honeybees reversed their fortune in the third set.

“Those first two games I was just in awe of how we were playing,” Cooper coach Courtney Pesterfield said. “We were playing probably the best volleyball we’ve played in awhile. In the third game, I guess we were a little too confident. I don’t know if Stephenville wanted it a little more than we did. It just kind of changed the momentum.”

There was one key stretch in the third game where the Honeybees plundered the momentum from the Lady Pirates, thanks to Dani Huckabee’s serves.

Huckabee, who was one of three Stephenville players with 10 kills, took the serve with a 17-13 deficit and keyed an 8-0 run to take the lead for good.

Huckabee’s topspin serves got the Lady Pirates out of system, and the senior continued to dominate the rest of the match.

“All year long (Huckabee) has been breaking people’s offense down when they would run anything quick because she has such an aggressive serve,” Stephenville coach Fran Metzger said.

Cooper went into a 6-1 hole in the fifth set, but battled to tie the game at nine before Huckabee and Stephenville finished off the Lady Pirates.

“I just know that we gave our all,” Macha said, “and they just kind of wanted it more.”

Like all year, the Lady Pirates had a balanced offensive attack. Setter Torey Kay had 40 assists, spreading the ball to Wilson, Megan Allen and Claire Shaver. Allen and Shaver had a dozen kills each, with Shaver adding four-and-a-half blocks.

Abbi White had 17 digs for Cooper, and Wilson added 11.

Cooper had taken two teams to five sets earlier in the playoffs, and Pesterfield said the team now knows what it’s like to lose in five.

But like her players, she isn’t focusing on the loss.

“In retrospect, these girls have worked so hard starting in the summer,” Pesterfield said. “They knew that they wanted to be different than any other team before, and I knew that these girls could do it. They had the drive and had the will. These girls have been playing together for such a long time, and that fact that I got to be a part of it is just an honor for me.”

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