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Volleyball: Two steps away from title – Boyd faces defending champ in semifinals

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, November 15, 2017
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Plenty to Celebrate

PLENTY TO CELEBRATE – The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets will play in the state volleyball tournament for the first time Thursday. Boyd plays Goliad at 11 a.m. Thursday. Messenger photo by Kelly Basting

Five years ago, when Dusty Crafton arrived to take over the Boyd Lady Yellowjackets volleyball program, it had not won a district match in three seasons.

An ambitious Crafton set the goal of winning a district title.

“My first goal was to win the district championship. That first year, I didn’t know if it was possible,” Crafton said. “When we made the playoffs that first year and won the first playoff match, it helped me believe that we can do a lot better than we thought.”

Three district titles later, Boyd and Crafton are headed to the program’s first state tournament. The Lady Yellowjackets (38-7) swept through the 3A Region I tournament last weekend to earn the trip to the University Interscholastic League volleyball championships. Boyd will take on defending 3A champion, Goliad (33-9) in the semifinals at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Culwell Center in Garland.

“They bought in and really believed that hard work pays off,” Crafton said. “They believe and expect to win. This group doesn’t know anything else but winning.”

The path to the state tournament has not always been easy. Crafton lost her brother, Zac, last season. Her team rallied around her through a run to the region quarterfinals before a loss to Peaster.

The Lady Yellowjackets faced Peaster again in the region quarterfinals this season and won in five sets.

“I posted on Facebook that since I’ve been here, it’s been some of the best and worst of times,” Crafton said. “The kids have been right there with me. They’ve grown with me.”

Crafton credits the close bond of the team with their success.

“The more you care about each other, the more you will put it on the line. We genuinely care for each other,” Crafton said.

Goliad earned a chance to defend its state crown with a four-set win over Industrial in the 3A Region IV final.

Amaya Brown buried 24 kills with two blocks. Ashlyn Davis added 17 kills.

“Their outside hitters are good, but it’s something we see every day in practice,” Crafton said. “Our outsides are good.”

Boyd middle blocker Laney Pellegrini said they will be up for the challenge defensively.

“We’ve been working to pick up the side lines,” Pellegrini said. “We know our left backs and Larrin [Maxwell] will be prepared.”

The winner of the Boyd and Goliad match will play Callisburg (41-3) or East Bernard (26-14) for the state title at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Boyd plans on being in Garland Saturday.

“We’re not just happy to be there. We’re going there with a purpose in mind,” Crafton said.

3A STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Culwell Center in Garland

THURSDAY, NOV. 16

11 a.m. – Boyd (38-7) vs. Goliad (33-9)
1 p.m. – Callisburg (41-3) vs. East Bernard (26-14)

SATURDAY, NOV. 18

11 a.m. – Conference 3A Final

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