VB Prairiland vs Bells - Chisum Tournament Championship game

Prairiland sophomore Abi Farmer (15) puts down a kill from the left side of the court during the Lady Patriots’ championship game victory over Bells.

The Prairiland Lady Patriots enjoyed their taste of victory in last year’s Chisum Volleyball Tournament so much they came back for seconds this year.

The Lady Patriots with precise execution swept every opponent they faced, claiming a second straight tournament win.

“Overall, our execution was pretty good,” Prairiland head volleyball coach Emily Vanderburg said. “I gave the team a goal Thursday to not drop a set throughout the entire tournament. They didn’t drop a set that day, and I wanted that goal to carry over into today (Saturday). They know if they play clean enough, they would accomplish their goal. They started out a little slow, but they took care of business and were able to win it all.”

Prairiland gained confidence after winning the tournament last year, and it translated into an even higher level of play and greater confidence during this year’s dominant run.

“We won the tournament last year and were really determined to win it again,” Lady Patriots senior Brook Tuck said. “We were really confident after coming out on top last year, and it fueled our fire — it really gave us that extra motivation to repeat.”

The Lady Patriots were sound across the board, making it all look easy. Anchored by its defense, Prairiland fired on all cylinders in that department along with running its fast-paced offense — seeming to blow opponents off the court.

“Our defense has improved, which leads into our quick offense really well,” Prairiland senior Trynity Chapman said. “We’ve been a lot more consistent offensively and defensively — we’ve really stepped up our intensity to start the year strong.”

In pool play, Prairiland rolled through defeating North Lamar’s JV 25-10 and 25-7, while topping DeKalb 25-14 and 25-10. The final match of pool play was a 25-7 and 25-21 sweep over Lone Oak.

After defeating Spring Hill on Friday 25-20, 25-18 and 25-21 in a regular season game in between the two tournament days, the Lady Patriots entered gold bracket play. Prairiland defeated Mt. Vernon 25-16 and 25-12, while beating New Boston 25-17 and 25-12. Finally, the Lady Pats claimed the championship over Bells on Saturday afternoon in a 25-12 and 25-12 sweep.

Baylor Sessums was dominant in the championship game with 10 assists and 11 powerful kills, while Madison Clark distributed 14 assists and added 3 kills. T.J. Folse and Reese Parris each compiled 4 kills, while Brook Tuck and sophomore Abi Farmer each added 3 kills. Audrey Gray also contributed with 6 digs, 2 service aces and 1 kill.

The Chisum Lady Mustangs also reached the gold bracket, finishing second in its pool, but fell in three sets to New Boston and a sweep to Mt. Vernon. Lexie Brown, a senior, was a force for Chisum during its run Saturday finishing with 15 kills and 23 digs. Landrey Howard anchored the defense that day with 56 digs and also added 5 service aces, while Chloe Prestridge recorded 14 kills and 8 digs. Chloe Miller and Emmy Williams each had 7 kills, while Zoe England added 6 kills. Bailee Dawes and Kelsea Ball combined for 44 assists, with Ball adding 2 service aces. 

Up next for Prairiland is a game against Paris High at the Lady ’Cats’ home gym, a game Prairiland knows will be a big one.

“I expect it to be a big game,” Vanderburg said. “I feel like it’s going to be a big game. We’re going to battle it out with them, and I think it’s going to be back-and-forth. We’re going to focus on what we can control, clean up our defense, hitting and anything else we can to get ready for that match.”

The Lady Patriots will take on the Lady ’Cats at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Paris High.

Geoff Heppes is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6967 or at geoff.heppes@theparisnews.com.

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