Rally lifts Westwood volleyball team past Vista Ridge, into playoffs
By Butch Hart / American-Statesman correspondent
Posted Oct 24, 2018 at 1:42 PM
Updated Oct 24, 2018 at 1:42 PM
original story can be found at statesman.com
With nothing less than the season on the line, Westwood delivered a clutch performance against Vista Ridge to claim the fourth and final playoff spot in District 13-6A.
Audrey Quesnel hammered 20 kills with just three attacking errors to propel Westwood to a 25-22, 15-25, 18-25, 25-23, 15-7 win over the Rangers Oct. 23 at Westwood High School. The victory gave the Warriors (29-17, 10-6 District 13-6A) their eighth consecutive playoff berth, and it dropped Vista Ridge into a second-place tie with Round Rock.
Westwood?s win also ended the season for Cedar Ridge, which swept Leander 25-22, 25-20, 25-23 Oct. 23 but finished one game behind Westwood in the district standings. Cedar Ridge (26-18, 9-7), which enjoyed a string season with first-year coach Macie Walker, would have made playoffs had Westwood not rallied past Vista Ridge.
Westwood coach Tara Nelson said the playoff-like environment will help her team entering the postseason.
?Wow, what a match,? she said. ?This was definitely a great start to the playoffs, and now the girls have experience with that pressure feeling of win-or-go-home and what is riding on each match.?
Westwood had struggled in close district matches with four of their five losses came after leading two sets to none. The Warriors also missed outside hitter Maddi Kriz, a beach volleyball pledge to Stanford who suffered an early-season ankle injury.
However, Westwood received a huge lift against Vista Ridge when Kriz returned for her first district match and managed two service aces with 12 digs in limited playing time. Kriz was not expected to return until November at the earliest, but her return on senior night gave the Warriors that court presence that enabled them to rally from a one-set deficit.
?It was awesome that we won, and it was great that I was able to get in a little tonight,? Kriz said.
Zoe Menendez had a huge match in the middle for Westwood with 11 kills and three blocks, and Maggie Stout had 20 digs and nine kills. Jenny Todd finished with 19 assists for Westwood, while setter Kenzie Beckham finished with 42 assists.
?We got some very tough serving, and hustle plays really helped us finish,? Nelson said. ?And Maddi was on the court; it was great to have her back.?
Vista Ridge (28-15, 12-4) is in the midst of a tremendous season under veteran coach Holly Lamb. The Rangers finished tied for second in district play as Skylar Warde, Izzy Buratto and Emma Gruben had sensational seasons for the Rangers.
Vandegrift claimed the District 13-6A crown by beating Hendrickson, while Round Rock got 15 kills by Lauren Malone, four solo blocks by Yasmina Kadich and 16 assists from Grace Adams to beat McNeil 25-14, 25-22, and 25-22. Erin Flood had five kills and Maya Barton 20 assists for the Mavericks, who finish district in sixth place.
In other local action, Pflugerville earned its first playoff berth in six seasons by sweeping Marble Falls 25-23, 25-12, 25-19. The Panthers join Connally, Cedar Park and Rouse as playoff-qualifying teams from District 17-5A.
Emily Herman returned to the court with eight kills as Georgetown swept East View 25-19, 26-24, 25-11 to secure second place in District 18-5A behind Hutto. East View advances to the playoffs, as does Bastrop, which defeated Manor 25-18, 25-9, 25-13 behind 10 kills from Sarah Ghormley.