GIDDINGS — Rouse was forced into a corner and came out fighting Thursday night.
The Lady Raiders trailed in all three sets of their second-round match against College Station in Giddings. But in all three instances, they overcame the effect to sweep the Lady Cougars 3-0 (20-16, 25-20, 25-17) and advance to the regional quarterfinals.
“We reacted well to being punched in the mouth,” head coach Jacob Thompson said. “It didn’t feel like a three-set sweep. It felt a little more stressful. The girls did a fantastic job of reacting. College Station played a fantastic match.”
Senior élan McCall led the team in kills (9), blocks (3) and digs (12). Ava Bell had eight kills and Danielle Cole added five. MacKenzie Huntley had three blocks, while Maddie Sheehan equaled that mark and led Rouse with 27 assists.
“We need to start off a little bit stronger and be ready against teams,” said senior Katy Northcut, who finished with 11 digs. “I think we kind of have the mindset that we can’t get complacent. Every single match we push and we’ve been on the ball about that.”
After winning the first set 25-16, Rouse fell behind 17-16 in the second set. With McCall serving, the Lady Raiders won six straight points to take a 22-17 lead and went on to win three of the final six points to win the set.
College Station jumped out to a small lead in the final set and Rouse quickly responded, highlighted by an impressive point that rattled off the ceiling and was eventually sent over the net from well beyond the back line by Northcut.
Vandegrift is the only other LISD team still alive. After sweeping San Antonio Madison in the first round, the Lady Vipers face off with San Antonio Clark in the area round Friday at 7 p.m. at Smithson Valley HS.
The Lady Raiders will take on the winner of Friday night’s second round match between Bryan and Hutto. They downed the Lady Hippos twice during the District 19-5A season.
“(The rest of the year) is about learning to execute a game plan and making sure we keep balls in the court and keeping the pressure on other teams,” Thompson said. “We just need to focus on being good. We need to be consistent."