Following a close battle in their first District 8-4A meeting with Springtown Oct. 4, Decatur coach Catherine Foerster knew the Lady Porcupines would be ready for the rematch.
After claiming the first set Friday inside Eagle Gym, Decatur fell into a lull as Springtown went on the attack. The Lady Porcupines tied the match at one set each, snapping Decatur’s streak of consecutive district sets won at 97.
The Lady Eagles, quickly rebounded, winning the ensuing two sets to claim the match, 25-16, 23-25, 25-19, 25-23.
Decatur (23-18, 9-0) earned its third consecutive league title under Foerster, with one game left on the schedule.
“I thought we actually did some really good things that we haven’t done up to this point,” Foerster said. “The girls really showed resilience, as they continued to fight even with the reffing situation we had tonight. Some of the calls were hard to combat because they seemingly took away our momentum. I’m not a coach that likes to blame the refs, but I do feel like they had a big control in some of the things that happened tonight.
“Our blocking was our downfall tonight. Springtown ran some things at us that we were not prepared for, so we were not disciplined enough to wait, so they were abusing us a little bit.
Gracie Trulson put down a match-high 18 kills to lead Decatur. Lilly Lowery and Haylie Huggins finished with 12 each.
“I think after we lost the second set, our energy really kept us in the game,” Huggins said. “We really worked together as a team to get this win. In practice, we’re always working hard to keep our energy constant, and it definitely helped us push to the end tonight.”
Huggins was a force at the net, racking up 2.5 blocks.
“I felt like I had a good game,” she said. “We’ve been working on both sets and blocks in the middle, so I was really glad I had the opportunity to help my team.
“We’re definitely on an upward trend. We had a tough non-district schedule, but right now we’re really coming together and playing for each other. We can only go up from here.”
Defensively, Decatur libero Morgan Hammer had 21 of the team’s 55 digs.
Decatur closed its league schedule Tuesday at home against Krum.
“Even though we are for sure the district champs, I want us to finish the regular season strong,” Foerster said. “We set goals early in the season, and they accomplished one of them by winning the title.
“We’re getting ready to roll into the playoffs. We’re doing a lot of good things right now. Our stride is growing. We’re more mature and making better decisions, which was hard for us at the beginning of the season because we were so young and inexperienced. I want us to keep growing aggressively and control our errors.”