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The Detroit Lady Eagles entered the season with fairly lofty goals for what they wanted to accomplish on the volleyball court, and the team has not just met those goals, but soared past them. Now, they find themselves as area champions after downing Union Grove in the second round of the playoffs, winning 25-17, 25-13, 25-14.

Though they eventually coasted to a straight-sets victory, the game started off shakily for the Lady Eagles, as they found themselves trailing 9-3 early on, just as they trailed out of the gate in the bi-district round.

They were able to right the ship without too much trouble, and then proceeded to win all three sets without too much trouble.

“Once they settled down and understood that it’s just a volleyball game, their nerves went away and they just played their game, which is sound, fundamental volleyball,” Detroit head coach Jeff Allensworth said.

The team was stellar from the service line, committing less than five errors there all game. And Allensworth also praised the work done by his middle blockers, and in particular Clara Carpenter, for the work done to slow Union Grove’s imposing presence at the net.

“We did a great job at the net,” he said. “Even when we weren’t getting blocks, we were getting hands on the ball, slowing it down for our other players.”

And offensively, Allensworth said the team delivered one of its most balanced games of the year. Ayanna Smith and Carpenter led the team in kills, with 14 and 10, respectively. But the team also saw contributions from Kellie Welch and Caylin Ray, who finished with five and four kills.

The team will play the winner of the area round matchup between Boles and Overton, which was played Saturday night. The result was not available by press time.

“This is the third time in the last 30 years that we’ve made it this far,” Allensworth said. “We figured it, and we’re one of the last 36 volleyball teams in the state of Texas still playing in our size classification. That’s a big accomplishment and the girls are really enjoying it. They deserve this.”

Tommy Culkin is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at

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