By Richard Greene
Last November, Abilene Wylie Lady Wildcats brought a close to the most successful season for the Decatur Lady Eagles’ volleyball program.
The Lady Eagles’ seniors entered Tuesday’s showdown of state-ranked programs in the Class 3A Region I quarterfinal in Graham determined to not let Wylie put a close to their high school careers.
No. 7 Wylie (36-6) and No. 10 Decatur (38-5) took the floor at 6:30 p.m.
“We want to get revenge,” said Decatur senior outside hitter Kortney Tompkins. “We don’t want it to end here.”
Decatur coach Claire Rose sensed her team’s excitement about playing Wylie for the second straight season. Wylie beat Decatur in four games last year 25-17, 25-15, 26-28, 25-18 on the way to making the state tournament.
“The girls are ready to face them again knowing that they knocked us out of the playoffs last year,” Rose said. “I feel that they have a little chip on their shoulder about it, and hopefully that will transfer that to the court.”
Since starting their district schedule, the two state-ranked teams have been on a collision course. The two district champions easily won their playoff openers with sweeps in area-round matches. Wylie took out Bridgeport, and Decatur dispatched Burkburnett.
The Lady Eagles were preparing for a powerful Wylie attack led by Michelle Lytle.
“They run a fast offense like us and [Lytle] is very versatile,” Rose said. “Hopefully our block is there, and we are covering behind them to slow them down.”
Defensively, Wylie put the clamps on Decatur last year, holding leading hitter Sara Oxford to seven kills. Tompkins led the Lady Eagles with 13.
Decatur entered the playoffs with five players averaging better than 3.4 kills per match, led by Tompkins with 8.79.
“We have a lot more people that can hit the ball hard,” Tompkins said.
With the amount of firepower, Rose said they were better prepared to meet Wylie.
“We are more well rounded as a whole than last year,” Rose said. “We are still waiting for the moment for everyone on the floor to click at the same time. We have yet to see that this year. We know we still have it in us.”