WINDTHORST – In a rematch from August, the Graford Lady Rabbits foiled the Forestburg Lady Longhorns for a second time on Monday night to capture a 1A Region 2 Bi-District championship.
The Lady Rabbits wrangled the Horns earlier in the year, 3-1, and were even better on Monday with a three set sweep of Forestburg by scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-24.
“It takes a bit of pressure off when you take those first two sets,” said Graford head coach Derek Wuthrich. “We got a little disappointed in ourselves after making a few mistakes, but we did what we needed to do and finished it out in three.”
Leading a dynamic Lady Rabbits attack were seniors Taylor Penn and Lacie Bell with 12 points apiece in the playoff win. Both seniors were strong throughout the match, especially at the net as Penn led the Lady Rabbits in kills with 10.
Additionally, Penn totaled at least three blocks on the night and Bell tied senior teammate Rebecca Richardson for the match lead in aces with four. Senior Sunni Lemley was another major factor in the match with a multitude of assists and a perfect misdirection-shot to win the second set.
“We rely on them, especially in these types of situations,” Wuthrich said about his seniors. “We've been down this year against good teams and have come back to win it, and that's something those veterans know how to do. They've been a lot of fun and are the reason we're here right now.”
Along with their seniors, the Lady Rabbits had help from talented sophomores Sophia Hincapie, Emma Armstrong and Bryce Hurst.
Armstrong was steady from the service line, Hurst held her own in the backcourt with a number of quality digs and Hincapie had an all-around match totaling three kills, a pair of aces and one major block to keep the Lady Rabbits rolling in the first set.
Graford volleyball continues its playoff run this Thursday, Nov. 2 when the Lady Rabbits head to Aledo for an area playoff matchup with District 12 champion Avalon, at 6:30 p.m.
“They wanted to finish out strong and they took care of business,” said Wuthrich. “We had a lot of fun and we're ready to go play Avalon. They've got a couple decent hitters and a scrappy defense and if we make mistakes it'll be a tough match for us.”