By Richard Greene
The Decatur Lady Eagles’ season hit a dead end Tuesday for a second straight season against the Abilene Wylie Lady Wildcats.
Behind strong defense at the net and the hitting of sophomore Layne Little, Wylie dispatched of the Lady Eagles in three games to win the Class 3A Region I quarterfinal.
Wylie (37-6) won 25-23, 25-18, 25-21 to move on to the Region I semifinal in Snyder Friday.
The loss ended Decatur’s season at 38-6.
“I was very proud of what we did this season,” said Decatur senior outside hitter Kortney Tompkins, who had five kills in her final match.
Tompkins was one of seven Decatur seniors that ended their careers Tuesday. Tompkins, Kortni Robinson and Ingrid Boatman were on the Decatur varsity for four seasons.
“They are great group,” said Decatur coach Claire Rose. “It’s to hard to see them go out like this. But it can’t take away from the season as a whole. We did some good things and beat some great teams along the way.
“I’m sad for them, because I know how hard they’ve worked and how bad they wanted this. I’m proud of them.”
Decatur struggled to generate offense as Wylie dominated the net, getting seven blocks for kills. Michelle Lytle had four blocks for kills, including three in the first game.
“They blocked us well, and we didn’t block them well,” Rose said. “They also weren’t letting anything hit the floor.”
Because of the Wylie’s play at the net, Decatur managed just 24 kills. A majority came on off-speed hits as the Lady Eagles were taken out of their usual aggressive style.
“They were very good at blocking,” Tompkins said. “We weren’t hitting.”
Wylie kept attacking throughout behind Little and Lytle. Little led the Lady Wildcats with 11 kills, including five in the first game.
“She was hitting over us or we weren’t closing out on the block,” Rose said.
Lytle added eight kills for Wylie.
Decatur held leads in all three games. The Lady Eagles took an 11-4 lead in game one, before a Lytle block started a Wylie rally of six straight points to cut the deficit to one.
Decatur stayed ahead until Wylie tied it at 19 and took the lead on a kill from Tucker Smith.
A Little kill at game point gave Wylie the first game.
Wylie broke a tie at eight in game two with Lytle spike. The Lady Wildcats went on a 5-0 run to build a 13-8 edge. Decatur pulled within two at 19-17, but Wylie took the game with a 6-1 closing spurt.
Down two games, a desperate Decatur team jumped out to leads of 10-5 and 15-10 in game three. But Wylie responded, tying the game at 15 and later 18. An error in service receive by Decatur gave Wylie the lead 19-18.
The Lady Wildcats held on from there with Caroline Peterson delivering the final shot at match point to end the Lady Eagles’ season.