Lady Antlers fight hard, lose to Johnson in five sets

Tivy's Allie Finch (9) and Taylor Kubacak (4) stand tall at the net Friday night at Antler Gym against Hays Johnson.

When Ally Scheidle went down and out with an injury in the first set of Friday’s District 26-5A volleyball match against Buda Johnson the moment arose when lesser teams might have thrown in the towel and thrown up their hands in surrender, but TFND is a powerful intangible that usually overpowers such negativity.

Tivy’s long-time motto alluding to ‘never-give-up-the fight’ almost did pull off some magic, however the Jaguars were able to hold off the Lady Antlers in five sets that saddled Tivy with only its third district loss against 10 wins.

Scores were 23-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 8-15 at Antler Gym.

“It was hard-fought battle. Our kids worked hard and showed a lot of heart and fight. We came up a bit short in the end, but will get back to work to get better for the remainder of our games. There is a lot of district left to play,” said Tivy head coach Stephanie Coates.

In terms of matches, only two remain on the docket after Tivy’s trip to New Braunfels Canyon on Tuesday. Regarding playoff seedings, Tivy’s final two matches can determine plenty.

“Our match with Boerne Champion will be vital,” Coates said of Friday’s early varsity start (5:15 p.m.) against the Chargers on Tivy’s home court. The early serve up is due to Tivy’s own football homecoming.

A win over Champion would mean no worse than a tie for third place with Alamo Heights behind projected 1-2 frontrunners Canyon and Dripping Springs. Tivy swept the Mules for the year and owns the tiebreaker, sending Alamo Heights to fourth for playoff positioning against District 25-5A competition.

Scheidle, a four-year starter who leads the team in virtually every category, suffered an undetermined ankle injury in the first set that Tivy was leading 16-9. Scheidle had five kills, three digs and an ace when she left the match.

The wind seemed to go out of Tivy’ sails the remainder of the set as the Jaguars (20-19, 7-7) ran off seven straight points soon after and tied things 17-17. Back and forth volleys resulted in for ties, the last being 23-23 after Hailey Davis’ hit broke Johnson’s serve. Johnson immediately went back in front 24-23 after Tivy misplayed a ball and the Jaguars won with an ace.

“We had to adapt in the first set and our kids were ever so close. Johnson is a good team that we took five sets to beat at their place with Ally in the lineup,” said Coates. “My hat is off to our kids who helped push back and take the match to five sets. There are a lot of teams that would have lost 25-7. Our kids fought and played their tails off."

Tivy managed some minor rallies in set two, which Tivy led only once, 1-0. Johnson struck out to a sizable 9-2 advantage, but the Lady Antlers crept back to being competitive thanks to both solo and combined stop-blocks from Davis, Grace Copeland, Allie Finch, Stella Hendricks, Taylor Kubacak, Karlyn Dyal, and numerous digs by Taylor Elkins, Emma Miller and Millie Howerton.

Kubacak finished with 21 kills, 23 digs, 13 assists and one block. Elkins had 29 digs and two assists. Finch blocked three shots, recorded 10 digs, made a kill, served three aces and pitched in an assist. Dyal had a whopping 37 assists to go with 15 digs, four kills and three aces,

Davis had nine kills, one block and four digs. Copeland registered one kill and two digs. Hendricks was in on 12 kills and eight digs. Miller got to 16 digs plus served an ace. Howerton had 11 digs.

Kubacak was realigned to the left side of the net during the second set and responded with kill shots that deadlocked the set 21-21 and 22-22 before the Jaguars squelched Tivy’s rally and went ahead 2-0 in sets.

“Taylor was also doing a good job of setting the ball from that side,” said Coates.

Tivy got off the ropes in sets three and four as the new lineup look began paying dividends.

From the moment Hendricks’ kill shot put Tivy ahead 1-0, the Lady Antlers never trailed and led by as many as 11 service points in set three before Johnson ran off 10 of the next 12 points in the set. The Jaguars’ rally made the score 23-22 by the time Tivy broke serve for a 24-22 lead that Copeland iced with her serve that gave Tivy the set decision.

Set four was another example of TFND with the Lady Antlers leading only briefly, finding themselves tied once and trailing most of the set on average by as many as six points on occasion.

Kubacak, Hendricks and Millie Howerton turned the set into a ‘hit ‘em where they ain’t’ contest by finding gaps that Jaguars’ defenders failed to fill. Tivy finally took the lead, 19-18, when Elkins ripped off three consecutive service points. A serving error from Johnson’s side of the net tacked on Tivy’s winning point and the match was knotted 2-2 in sets.

Half a dozen Tivy hitting errors hindered any comeback to victory, however, in set five, where the closest margin was when Tivy found itself tied 1-1 and 3-3.

Junior Varsity

Tivy’s junior varsity team lost to Johnson 15-25, 13-25.

Harli Watson led kills with five and aces with two.
 Jordan Clayton had four digs, Solaya Gorham made a block, and Hattie Ahrens assisted 11 times.

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