RED OAK — Highland Park was put to the test during its Class 6A Region II quarterfinal on Tuesday against Waco Midway, but the Lady Scots weren’t fazed.
HP rallied for a four-set win, 22-25, 25-12, 25-19, 25-19, to advance to the regional tournament for the second straight year. The Lady Scots (43-6) will meet Conroe Oak Ridge on Friday in Huntsville.
They struggled early against Midway, used a powerful block to lead early. After surging ahead by four points on several occasions, a kill by Avery Rhodes clinched the opening set for the Pantherettes (34-8) and put HP on its heels.
“We had some jitters and some butterflies to start the game,” said HP head coach Michael Dearman. “I think we had a wake-up call. The girls responded well.”
Indeed, the Lady Scots played with more verve in the second set, with a long service run by Madeline Ngo putting HP ahead 8-4. As Midway struggled with its hitting accuracy, the Lady Scots took advantage, winning the set on a kill by Elizabeth Gilley out of the middle.
“We knew they had a nice block,” Dearman said. “We started doing a better job of hitting some angles.”
The Lady Scots continued their momentum into the third, when Landry Ray’s serving keyed an early 4-0 spurt. The Pantherettes rallied to take a 12-10 advantage before HP’s defense prompted a comeback. A powerful cross-court kill by Falyn Reaugh capped the set.
The final set was more of the same, with HP gaining the lead on a long service run by Madeline Bonnet, and taking the match on an ace by Greer Gordon.
The victory marked a repeat of last season, when HP swept Midway in the same gym on its way to the regional semifinals. However, the Lady Scots hope their stay in Huntsville will be longer this time.
“There’s some things that we can clean up, but our girls are staying focused,” Dearman said. “They’re doing a good job of playing steady.”