Critical points in the clutch played a vital role in the state-ranked Dripping Springs Tiger volleyball team’s 25-23, 26-24, 25-21 Aug. 13 sweep over the Hays Rebels at Bales Gym.
While Hays (6-4) kept pace with the Tigers (8-4) in the first two frames, the Rebels were unable to keep an experienced Dripping Springs squad from pulling away late.
Tiger head coach Michael Kane lauded Hays’ grit, which he expected having played Hays during their run at the John Turner Classic in Pearland.
“I felt like today we ground some wins out and we gutted them out,” Kane said. “We weren’t passing well, but we were still able to fortunately come out with a win.”
Tied at 16-16 in a tightly contested first set, Dripping Springs closed the frame by outscoring Hays 9-7 to take a 1-0 match lead. Back and forth play continued into the second frame where Hays rallied to hold match point at 24-22.
However, the Tigers responded with a 4-0 run to end the set and snag a commanding 2-0 match lead.
Kane said getting their middle blockers involved and staying in system were key for success on the offensive side. Not being afraid to “swing to win,” as well as having experience in big matches, was equally an important role for the Tigers.
“The kids aren’t afraid. That comes with experience. We have some kids who have been in some big games before and the state tournament, we understand what it takes,” Kane said. “We hope to continue to build from that.”
Dripping Springs kept momentum in the third set, building a 20-10 lead before Hays battled back. Hays cut the lead to three points at 24-21 but couldn’t get any closer.
Hays first year head coach Ashley Davis lauded the Rebel’s resiliency, but said Dripping Springs was “more consistent in bigger moments.”
Davis said the Rebels are still getting used to her style of coaching, along with building chemistry and trust with each other as well.
“It’s knowing everyone has each other’s back, that’s our big thing. We’re all going to fight for each other,” Davis said. “It was a good match, a good comeback. But they’re a good team.”
For the Tigers, working on their first touch, as well as avoiding service errors, are the goals as they continue to march through pre-district tournament play. Dripping Springs finished 6th at the John Turner Classic, followed up by claiming the Silver Bracket championship at the Fraulein Volleyfest in New Braunfels Aug. 15-17.
“We’re building off that and we’re growing some confidence,” Kane said. “I’m excited to see what happens.”
Dripping Springs travels to play at the Volleypalooza in Cedar Park Aug. 22-24 before returning home Aug. 27 to face Georgetown.