By Richard Greene
Most of the evening Tuesday, the Chico Lady Dragons were their own worst enemy with hitting, passing and service errors.
But in the end none of that mattered as the Lady Dragons swept Dallas Gateway Academy to capture a Class A Region II bi-district title at Decatur High School gym. Chico (25-8) won 25-21, 25-12, 25-18.
“That was awful,” said Chico setter Molli Umphress. “I have no idea what that was. We were a little nervous coming in, and it took a while to get in the swing of it.
“All that matters is we won. A win is a win.”
Chico will move on to play District 10-A champion Evant Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The site of the match is undetermined.
Chico coach Missy Patterson said her team will need to play much better.
“Nothing like your first playoff match to have your worst game,” she said. “But they know they didn’t play well. They just don’t need to beat themselves up over it.”
The Lady Dragons had a hard time adjusting to a slow-paced game against a Gateway squad that mounted few attacks. Gateway had just five kills in the match.
“We’re used to teams like Lindsay where you’re constantly blocking and they are hitting,” Umphress said. “A game with this slow of pace is hard to adjust to.”
Chico netted few kills of its own. Hannah Avants led the Lady Dragons with seven kills, including the match closer.
Malori Moss added six kills, and Ann Turlington five.
Umphress handed out 19 assists.
Chico did earn 10 points on aces. Umphress finished with three.
The aces canceled out the Lady Dragons’ eight service errors. Chico finished at 91 percent from the service line.
Chico started slow, falling behind 5-0 to start game one. The Lady Dragons didn’t take a lead until Umphress’ ace made it 13-12. Chico built the lead to 19-13.
A series of Chico hitting errors allowed Gateway to creep back within two, 23-21. A Turlington kill got the Lady Dragons to game point before they took it on a Gateway error.
In game two, Chico built a 19-12 lead before Umphress came to the service line and served the final six points. She had an ace in the rally and forced three Gateway errors in service receive.
The Lady Dragons took a 20-10 lead in game three on another long rally with Umphress at the service line. Gateway mounted a short run to get within four, 22-18.
After a Gateway service error, Chico put the match away with an Araliza Galindo ace followed by Avants’ kill.
“My thinking is all of this is done and we’ll come out ready on Thursday,” Patterson said.