Quitman splits matches to gain third place seed

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Bonus volleyball was featured on Halloween night as Mineola hosted a special three-match event to determine playoff seeding for district 12-3A. After 84 volleyball games this season, three teams, Grand Saline, Quitman and Rains, were notched in second place with identical 8-4 records. Edgewood was clear in first place with a 12-0 mark.

The format involved a little luck and a lot of skill. Grand Saline won the toss which gave them a constructive win before competition began. The initial match featured Quitman vs. Rains, the winner of which would face Grand Saline to determine the number two playoff seed. The losers of matches one and two competed to determine the third and fourth place seeds. 

When queried about the thoughts of her squad going into the seeding tourney, Rains Head Coach Kim Talkington remarked, “Heck ya, the girls all wanted to play for it.” 

The Lady Cats did not disappoint, recording wins over the Lady Bulldogs (25-20, 25-18, 25-20) and Lady Indians (26-24, 25-17, 25-16) to secure the second place seed in bi-district play. Quitman then dispatched Grand Saline (25-21, 25-23, 25-18) to finish as the third seed.

The Lady Cats used fast starts in all three games against Quitman to their advantage. In game one, Rains withstood the highly-charged Lady Bulldog offense with stellar backcourt play by Kristen McGinty. The Lady Cats embarked on five 4-point rallies to take the first game.

Despite a great effort led by Lady Bulldog Jentri Jackson, Quitman dropped game two as Rains got its offense untracked. Scoring specialist Harley Kreck had a stand-out performance. 

The Lady Bulldogs came out with new energy in game three. Ava Burroughs and Julia Simpkins provided the offensive punch. With the game tied at 7, Rains’ discipline and net skills began to show. They traded points 2 for 1, until they were up 21-15. A late seven-point rally closed the score to 23-20, but Rains prevailed. 

In the ensuing match against Grand Saline, the Lady Cats simply wore down the Indians. After Grand Saline challenged every point in the opening-game 26-24 loss, Rains won every long volley in games two and three, winning the match handily. 

Quitman defeated the Lady Indians in three games to claim the third seed. In addition to the continued production of Burroughs, Simpkins and Jackson, Maddy Whitehurst had a great match against Grand Saline. As always, the work of Shelby Hayes in the backcourt saved a multitude of points for the Lady Bulldogs. Hayes likely had her best defensive night of the year. 

Looking forward to the bi-district round of action, Quitman Head Coach Ashlee Lingo commented, “I think they are ready for some playoff ball.” 

The Lady Bulldogs defeated Dallas Madison Tuesday night in the bi-district round.

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