Rouse had a two-set lead, but Bastrop had all the momentum.
Trailing 11-5 in the third set, Rouse head coach Jacob Thompson called a timeout to help calm his team down.
“We talk about not getting too far ahead of yourself,” he said. “I talked them before the match and nobody is going to win with one ball. These are marathon matches. We gave up a big run to start the set and got a little anxious.”
Rouse rallied late to tie the third set at 16 points apiece and went on to win the final frame and sweep Bastrop 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-23) in the opening bi-district round Tuesday night at Stony Point High School.
MacKenzie Huntley led the Lady Raiders with 12 kills while Grayson Schirpik had nine kills and a team-high 18 digs. Reilly Heinrich had 15 digs and setter Kara Erfurth led Rouse with 21 assists.
“Even though we won the first two sets, we still had to finish it and we still had to fight as hard as we did when we started the match,” Erfurth said. “I think that just picked everybody up and gavels the confidence to finish it.”
This is the third year in a row Rouse has advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
A back-and-forth opening set, Rouse went on a little run midway through the frame to take an 11-7 lead. The Lady Raiders continued their strong play and won 14 of the final 23 points to take the opening set.
The second set was the Lady Raiders’ strongest set of the game. They easily got out an 8-4 lead, withstood little push from Bastrop in the middle yet extended their lead to 21-12 and finished strong once again to take the two-set lead.
“Our serve received was a lot better and we picked it up on the offensive side as well,” Erfurth said. “We were able to put balls down the first time and we didn’t let them go on runs, we went on runs ourselves.”
On Friday night in the area round, Rouse will face off with Waller, which beat Willis 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21) earlier on Tuesday. A time and location were yet to be decided at press time Tuesday night.
No matter where they play, the Lady Raiders aren’t taking anyone for granted.
“We need to treat every match like it’s the biggest match because any team can beat us,” Erfurth said. “We just need to go out there with the right mindset.”