SPORTS HEADLINES

Volleyball: Argyle knocks out Decatur – Lady Eagles fall in region quarterfinals

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, November 11, 2017
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All Out Effort

ALL-OUT EFFORT – Decatur’s Autumn Finney and Tayte Helton dive for a ball during the Lady Eagles’ loss to Arygle. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

With a trip to the 4A Region II semifinals on the line, Decatur and Argyle entered the third set all square at one. After getting the first point, Argyle lost control for most of the game, unable to pull ahead of Decatur.

Up 20-19, Decatur was on the cusp of taking a commanding 2-1 lead in the match.

Then Argyle mounted a rally.

Nervous View

NERVOUS VIEW – The Decatur bench watches toward the end of the Lady Eagles’ loss to Argyle Tuesday in the 4A Region II quarterfinal. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Argyle outscored Decatur 6-1 to take the third set 25-20, flipping momentum to knock its old coach Clark Oberle out of the playoffs, 3-1 (25-17, 19-25, 25-20, 25-16).

“We weren’t able to finish them off,” Oberle said. “I think their big-game experience just carried them over to the fourth [set]. They got the momentum, and we couldn’t stop it.”

Decatur jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the third set, courtesy of multiple blocks at the front of the net. The two sides then began trading points, matching one another kill-for-kill.

But several errant returns and mental mistakes doomed Decatur at the end of the third set, allowing Argyle to get back in the game and turn the tide of the match.

Twice in the third set Decatur let balls drop harmlessly to the court.

With every miscue, Argyle seemingly took advantage.

“I guess we just thought we had it,” said Decatur senior captain Autumn Finney. “We have a lot of young players on the team. Argyle has big game experience. A lot of players on our team don’t. It was really just who played best under pressure.”

As its season hung in the balance, Decatur came out completely flat in the decisive fourth set, quickly falling behind 14-6. Decatur made one last push to narrow the margin to 17-12, but it never got any closer, as Argyle cruised to the victory.

Although much of the talk leading up to the match surrounded Argyle facing its former coach in the playoffs, current Argyle coach Megan DeGroot said it was not something her team was particularly focused on.

“It wasn’t so much they wanted to beat Oberle,” DeGroot said. “It was ‘we want to beat Decatur.’ I think it was more so about Oberle the first time we played them, and after that, it has resonated with them he’s gone and I’m here. It’s a different chapter.”

Even though Decatur wasn’t able to advance to the regional semifinal, Oberle said he was proud of his team’s effort and the progress they made this year. Decatur started the season 0-5 but finished its 2017 campaign 28-14.

“We fought til the very end,” Oberle said. “When you consider how far we came from the beginning of the season to today, it was a successful season I think.”

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