MOUNT PLEASANT — For the first time in years, the Prairiland Lady Patriots volleyball team advanced past the second round of postseason play. Prairiland did so in convincing fashion with a historic sweep over White Oak by a final score of 25-18, 25-8 and 25-16.
“We’ve been working extremely hard since last summer,” Prairiland senior Baylor Sessums said. “After we lost out in the second round the past two years, we just told ourselves the third time’s the charm and we will have an easier path by getting district champs. We executed it and it just gives me chills. Knowing it was game point and we got that win — it’s so rewarding.”
The Lady Patriots and White Oak played each other close in the first set, with White Oak staying within a point most of the opening set, even taking slim leads. However, with the score tied at 18-18, the Lady Pats scored the final seven points of the set to win 25-18. Their momentum got stronger from their after the tense first set.
The Lady Patriots were all over White Oak in the second set, jumping out to a quick 9-5 lead, which forced a White Oak timeout. After that, an ace from senior Trynity Chapman, a kill from Sessums and a kill from senior Brook Tuck made it 12-5. Later in the set, a kill from senior Madison Clark extended the advantage to 20-6. She recorded another kill a few points later to make ti 23-8, then sophomore Abi Farmer followed up with an ace to extend the lead to 24-8. White Oak hit a ball in the net to end it.
Prairiland’s offense was surgical throughout the match, and the energy was consistent throughout, including the 25-16 victory in the third set.
“We played really aggressive, we stayed up and our energy was high the whole time,” Lady Patriots junior Reese Parris said. “We never really tipped the ball that much, we just kept doing our thing, putting the ball down and finding open spots. After every point we scored, we cheered and came together for the win.”
Getting past their nemesis in the form of the area round game was huge for the Lady Patriots and their confidence.
“It felt really great to finally push through the second round,” Lady Patriots head volleyball coach Emily Vanderburg said. “They executed their game plan exactly as we’ve been talking about the past few days, and that was the difference. They just had a lot of grit and determination to not drop out in the second round this time.”
Prairiland feels confident now that it got past the stingy second round, anything is possible.
“I think we can take it all the way,” Sessums said. “If we play to our abilities, and we’re all playing together and up as a team, I know we can take it to state. I know our community believes in us, too, we just have to believe in ourselves.”
And they will go as far as their seniors take them.
“I give a lot of credit to the seniors,” Vanderburg said. “They know that this is it. They have to play the best they can every match, every set and every play. They’ve stepped it up, which has translated over to everyone else. They’ve done an awesome job to do what they need to be doing.”
The Lady Patriots play again at 8 tonight against New Boston in the regional quarterfinal round at Pittsburg High School.
S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 F
Prairiland: 25 25 25 N/A N/A 3
White Oak: 19 8 16 N/A N/A 0
Prairiland kill leaders: B. Sessums, 12; R. Parris, 9; T. Folse, 6; A. Gray, 5; M. Clark, 3; B. Tuck, 2
Prairiland dig leaders: T. Chapman, 14; B. Tuck, 13; M. Clark, 9; B. Sessums, 9; A. Gray, 7; A. Sessums, 2
Prairiland assist leaders: M. Clark, 19; B. Sessums, 13
Prairiland blocks: T Folse, 3; B. Tuck, 1; R. Parris, 1
Prairiland service aces: T. Folse, 5; A. Gray, 3; A. Farmer, 2; B. Sessums, 2; T. Chapman, 1