WCMessenger.com http://www.wcmessenger.com Wise County Messenger Online Edition Sat, 22 Nov 2014 21:15:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 True blue: Decatur faithful cheer volleyball team on its way to state competition http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/true-blue-decatur-faithful-cheer-volleyball-team-on-its-way-to-state-competition/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/true-blue-decatur-faithful-cheer-volleyball-team-on-its-way-to-state-competition/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 21:00:36 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83865 Carrying signs for her daughters, Maclaine and Caroline, Amy Lowery walked into the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland Friday afternoon after a hurried couple of days.

“I went yesterday to Tyler to pick up my mother. We call it the Grand Jan Dash,” Mrs. Lowery explains. “She’ll be here. She’s nearly 84 and didn’t want to miss this.”

Along with dealing with those logistics, Mrs. Lowery hides her nerves on this day.

Go Eagles

GO EAGLES – Fans of the Decatur High School volleyball team chant Friday in support of their defending state champions. The Lady Eagles made it to the state title match again by defeating Robinson. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“The parents, we’re a nervous wreck,” she said. “It’s incredibly exciting. We’ve been hoping all year to make it back here. For them as sisters, it’s amazing to get here again and have both them playing.”

The Lowerys were among hundreds of Decatur fans that made the journey east to Garland Friday to watch the Lady Eagles battle Robinson in the 4A semifinal at the University Interscholastic League volleyball championships.

Among the faithful in blue and white was a good share of the high school population, who ditched classes to attend. They were given an excused absence with a ticket stub, though.

“We came to support our team,” said Decatur senior Jasmyne Tate.

Hannah Dunning added: “I hope they can do it again.”

Devoted Fans

DEVOTED FANS – A Decatur fan can’t mask his support for the Lady Eagles, especially Ariana Buchanan. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Tate, Dunning and Macee Reed had little remorse about missing class to watch the Lady Eagles.

“Not even a little bummed,” Reed said.

It wasn’t just high school students that made the trip to Garland. Eighth-graders Ashlee Hudson and Ashleigh Rogers were among the early-arriving fans.

“It’s really cool,” Hudson said. “One day I might play volleyball, and it’d be really cool if we went to state.”

One More Time

ONE MORE TIME – Lady Eagle fans will cheer the team on one final time this season when Decatur fights for the state title at 2 p.m. today in Garland. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

It wasn’t just students who played hookie for the Lady Eagles. Leisha Young left her staff in charge of Cakes by Leisha to watch her nieces – the Lowerys – play Friday.

“There will always be cupcakes, but there can’t always be a state championship,” Young said.

Sheryl DuBois came to watch five members of the team that attend her church.

“I left two kids with the flu,” DuBois said. “My husband is at home with them. I told him ‘I’m going to go.'”

The Lady Eagles left Thursday for the match with a huge sendoff at the high school. Decatur ISD Superintendent Rod Townsend offered praise to the girls, who have captured the imagination of the community the past two years with back-to-back state trips.

“People don’t realize what winning at this level does for the confidence of the whole district,” Townsend said. “It changes the environment and the face of everything.

“I love these kids and watching them compete, especially with the attitude they have. This group is an amazing set of young ladies.”

Decatur fans will get to see their Lady Eagles play one more time. The Lady Eagles swept Robinson in three games, 25-18, 25-19, 25-7, to earn a spot in the state title game for the second straight year. They will play Argyle at 2 p.m.

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Volleyball: Back to ‘Ship – Lady Eagles sweep Robinson to reach 2nd state final http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/sports/volleyball-back-to-ship-lady-eagles-sweep-robinson-to-reach-2nd-state-final/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/sports/volleyball-back-to-ship-lady-eagles-sweep-robinson-to-reach-2nd-state-final/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:36:31 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83829 In the return to the state stage, the Decatur Lady Eagles looked right at home Friday afternoon.

Rushing the Court

RUSHING THE COURT – Decatur’s Lady Eagles celebrate their win over Robinson in three sets to take the 4A semifinals Friday at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. Decatur faces Argyle for the state title 2 p.m. today. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Behind pinpoint serving and a versatile attack, the Lady Eagles dispatched Robinson in the 4A semifinals of the University Interscholastic League volleyball championships at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.

Decatur won 25-18 25-19 25-7. The Lady Eagles moved to 3-0 and have won nine straight games at the state tournament in the past two years.

Decatur will now play in the 4A final at 2 p.m. Saturday against Argyle.

“We’re going to do our best to get a state title and leave it all on the court,” said senior outside hitter Makayla Mayfield.

The bright state lights had little effect on the Lady Eagles.

Above the Rest

ABOVE THE REST – Courtnie Roberts and Makayla Mayfield go up for a block against Robinson Friday afternoon. The Lady Eagles won in three games, 25-18, 25-19 and 25-7. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“We were too relaxed and not as ready as we should have been,” said Decatur senior outside hitter Caroline Lowery. “We picked it up in the third game where we needed to be.”

In the third set, the Lady Eagles put Robinson away with five of their nine aces. Lowery and Makayla Mayfield served two each. Cooper Martin buried four kills.

“We had a game plan coming in. We wanted to make sure we attacked at the pins and wanted to keep them out of system with our serving,” said Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay.

Decatur had just one service error in the match.

“The experience from last year helped us slice up the court,” Lowery said.

Lowery and Courtnie Roberts served three aces each.

Court is in Session

COURT IS IN SESSION – The Lady Eagles served a swift defeat to Robinson Friday. Decatur had 42 kills and 53 digs to dominate play. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Decatur jumped out to a 15-5 lead on Stormi Leonard’s lone kill. A Lowery ace made it 20-4. After a pair of Robinson points at match point, Mayfield ended the match with her 15th kill.

Decatur put down 42 kills, hitting .323 for the match. The Lady Eagles hit .500, putting down 13 of their 24 chances in the final set.

Martin finished with 12 kills and Lowery nine. Leonard doled out 37 assists.

Defensively, the Lady Eagles made 53 digs and limited Robinson’s Bailey Meggs to seven kills on 34 attacks. Maclaine Lowery made 17 digs and Leonard 15.

Decatur used a 9-2 run early in the first set to take an 11-5 lead on a Caroline Lowery ace. The Lady Eagles maintained the edge, taking the game by seven.

The Lady Eagles again jumped out to an early advantage in the second set, 5-1, on a Mayfield ace and Robinson error. Robinson never got closer than four the rest of the game.

Down 2-0, Robinson had no answer in game three.

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Volleyball: Clear vision – Lady Eagles driven for 2nd title http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/sports/volleyball-clear-vision-lady-eagles-driven-for-2nd-title/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/sports/volleyball-clear-vision-lady-eagles-driven-for-2nd-title/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:34:17 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83823 With a big lead in the third set Friday afternoon, the Decatur Lady Eagles refused to let their minds drift from the task at hand.

The team just kept their tunnel vision and closed out Robinson, just like the rest of their playoff opponents, in three games. In two playoff runs, the Lady Eagles have dropped just three sets. In three matches at the state tournament, they are now a perfect 9-0.

Richard Greene

Richard Greene

“They are as disciplined as they are athletic,” said Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay. “They hate to lose far more than they like to win and don’t settle. That’s a huge driving.”

That drive and discipline is the reason the Lady Eagles will play for a second straight state title Saturday at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.

Like so many times during the match, the Decatur coach never called a timeout during the brief Robinson runs, letting her seniors right the ship.

“They know what to do. The seniors are the ones that lead the group,” Benedict-Gay said.

They also know what they want. Since last year when they received their rings for the 2013 title, this group has not been satisfied with past accomplishments. All they’ve talked about is winning a second state title. Even during a brutal stretch in August and September, playing the top teams in 6A and 5A and picking up all 10 of their losses, the focus stayed on November and Garland.

Little changed walking on the floor Friday. It showed, winning the first two sets by seven and six points before burying Robinson in the third set by 18.

“We know where we want to be,” said senior Cooper Martin.

Fellow senior Makayla Mayfield added: “We’re going to do our best to get a state title and leave it all on the court.”

While pointed out in the press conference that it will be the last match Saturday for seven Decatur seniors, including four-year varsity standouts Martin, Mayfield, Stormi Leonard and Caroline Lowery, they are not ready for any talk about their legacy or the end.

“That’s what we thought about today, but we moved past that,” Benedict-Gay said. “They want to go out on top.”

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