SHALLOWATER — Although the result of the Shallowater Tournament championship wasn’t what All Saints Episcopal wanted, it can rest assured the volleyball team is still playing at a high level.
Despite a strong effort, the Patriots dropped a 25-19, 23-25, 25-17 decision to Graham in the Shallowater Tournament Gold Bracket championship.
“I told the girls Graham was a great team,” said All Saints coach Kimberli Swett, who was also pleased with her team’s ability to fight back through adversity. “I knew that coming in. We usually do well and thrive when we take teams out of their system. They passed well. That was a challenge for us to make sure that we were really hitting our zones. But at the end of the day, 5-1 is a good record and we are good with that. … Playing teams like this makes us better for the playoffs and district, and that sets us up for more success. Playing difficult teams is just going to make us better.”
The Patriots, who won the TAPPs Class 2A state title a season ago, bested Snyder 25-14, 25-19 to start their day and went on to defeat Denver City 23-25, 25-22, 25-20 to earn a spot in the championship match.
Against the Lady Blues, All Saints’ Syriah Flores recorded 15 kills and 20 assists, while returning all-state teammate Lily McKay had 13 assists.
The Patriots look to bounce back when they host San Jacinto Christian at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Despite forcing a decisive third set, All Saints couldn’t complete its rally after an error gave Graham (7-0) the advantage it needed during a crucial part of the final set.
“I’m proud of them,” Graham coach Marci Faulk said. “We overcame a third set with Friona, we had the third set here and that was something that we were struggling with — consistency as a team. It’s early in the season, but to see them battle through that, I was really proud of them today.”
The Lady Blues got off to a strong start in the first set. Graham’s Nicole King (six kills) tipped the ball over the net and teammate Jasmine Sims (12 kills) recorded a kill to take a 2-0 early lead over All Saints and set the tempo for Game 1.
Graham stretched out its lead and held off the Patriots to win the first set.
The Patriots weren’t going to make it easy for the Lady Blues.
With the second set tied at 2-2, All Saints’ Katie Bayouth and Flores recorded back-to-back kills to swing the momentum in their favor. Flores tipped the ball over the net to fuel a three point run and pull the Patriots ahead 5-2.
The mini-run was exactly what All Saints needed as the attack and defense got into a groove on the way to besting Graham 25-23 in the second set.
The Patriots could not complete the rally, though.
“All day we have kind of come back from a deficit,” Swett said. “For example, against Denver City, they had a seven-point lead and we came back and won that set. They did show that they could compete with anybody.”