Lady Pirates win opening thriller
The Granbury Lady Pirates started their 2019 season in thrilling fashion Tuesday at the James Wann Sports Center, beating Mansfield Lake Ridge 3-2 (17-25, 25-20, 26-24, 23-25, 15-8).
It was a major win, especially considering Class 6A Lake Ridge has had Gran-bury’s number in recent years.
“It’s huge,” Lady Pirate head coach Desiree Shahan said. “I don’t know if we’ve even taken a set from them since I’ve been here.
“For them to come back – a tendency that we’ve had in the past is that once we’ve been down one or two, we’ve just kind of died over it. So it’s super great.”
From the opening serve, both teams played at a high level. Lake Ridge ran away with the first set, closing on a 14-6 run after the teams were tied at 11.
In the second set, Gran-bury’s front line started to come alive. Senior middle hitter Macie Blohowiak stuffed a Lake Ridge hitter at the net to make it 16-13 in favor of the Lady Pirates and give Granbury the momentum it needed to tie the match at 1-1.
The third set saw Granbury claw back from a 22-24 deficit. A close call on the back line at 24-24 went the Lady Pirates’ way, allowing them to go up 2-1 in the match. But Lake Ridge controlled much of the fourth set and sent the match to a tiebreaker.
After falling behind 0-3, Granbury rallied back and at one point rattled off eight straight points, punctuated by a spike from Blohowiak. Senior Payton Bell had the final kill to give Granbury the win.
Blohowiak earned praise from her head coach, as did junior libero Kaitlyn McCabe, who had several impressive digs at the back line. McCabe combined with junior Gracie Nichols and senior Courtney Smith with perhaps the most impressive point of the match for Granbury in the fourth set, with both McCabe and Nichols diving to keep the ball alive for Smith.
The Lady Pirates are in Hawaii for the Ann Kang Invitational. Granbury was in a pool with host school ‘Iolani, Redondo Union (California), Los Alamitos (California), Kahuku (Hawaii), Escondido (California), Hawaii Baptist and Pearl City (Hawaii). All teams played three pool matches Thursday, three Friday and two Saturday.
The Lady Pirates will return and play Arlington Martin on the road Tuesday.