By Amanda Lattimer
A late fifth set Westlake Chaparral run stunned the Hays Rebel volleyball team in a 25-20, 10-25, 25-20, 24-26, 13-15 loss Friday at Bales Gym.
That defeat, mixed with an Austin High win, places Hays’ postseason hopes on the brink.
Hays won the first set 25-20, but Westlake turned the tables and took set two 25-10. Both teams went punch-for-punch in the third frame with Hays taking the set 25-20 and a 2-1 match advantage.
The intensity ramped up in the final two frames as both teams fought to gain the upper hand.
Hays senior Trista Strasser said the Rebels focused on trying to secure the victory.
“[I was feeling] The adrenaline and how we came together as a team and focused on one main thing and what we wanted to get done,” Strasser said.
Hays gained a few points early in the fourth set, only to have Westlake creep up behind them later and eventually surpass them to tie the match at two sets each.
Hays rallied in the fifth set and held match point at 14-11 and was poised to take the win.
But a 5-0 Chaparral run closed the match and the contest.
Hays seniors Sydney Collins, Ryan Torres, and Brooke Sheely all provided key contributions in the contest.
While Strasser was upset with the loss, she acknowledged the hard work Hays put into Friday’s game.
“I just had the thought of we can do this, and we need to believe in ourselves,” Strasser said. “And to have that strength to take it to five like we did.”
The waiting game now begins for Hays, which could clinch a playoff berth with a win over Bowie or an Austin High loss to Lake Travis Tuesday. Should Hays fall to Bowie and Austin High win Tuesday, both teams could square off in a possible winner-take-all one-game playoff for the fourth and final spot out of 25-6A.
Despite the loss, Strasser said Hays is prepared to pick back up where they left off however the chips may fall.
“We are going to take how we played and the next thing for us is to just focus on the next game, and to not hold our heads down,” Strasser said.
District 25-6A standings
Lake Travis 14-2*
Ann Richards 6-11
Del Valle 4-11
If the regular season ended today, the projected 25-6A playoff picture would be…
Westlake vs. Smithson Valley/Cibolo Steele
Lake Travis vs. New Braunfels
Bowie vs. New Braunfels
Canyon Hays vs. Schertz Clemens