On one side of the volleyball court, a team's season came to an end. On the other side, one could argue that team's season is just beginning.
Playoff-bound Tuloso-Midway took care of Alice 25-14, 25-13, 25-13 as both teams wrapped up the regular season at Alice High School.
The Cherokees (11-5 District 30-5A) earned the fourth and final playoff berth in district and will face District 29-5A champion Medina Valley 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Beeville.
(I wanted the team to) just to be disciplined, just to do the little things and keep it clean, T-M coach Jamie Gill said. We had five missed serves that's unacceptable to me. That's not keeping it clean, but they won in long rallies. Alice got really scrappy and kept making plays happen. Expect the unexpected and don't let up.
T-M's Katherine Quinton had a match-high 12 kills, followed by Kelsi Luckenbach with 11. In all, the Cherokees had 44 kills, finding the holes in the Alice defense. Lauren Turner assisted on 21 of those kills. T-M libero Analysa Gonzales had a team-high 26 digs. Alice was led by Sima Silva's six kills, Erika Rodriguez's 22 digs and Fran Franki's 18 assists.
The Lady Coyotes fell behind 14-4 in the opening game and never got closer than nine points.
Alice's trying season ended after a 2-14 district run. Coach Ophelia De Los Santos wrapped up her first season in charge of the program and will look to continue to build.
It's been a learning year, definitely, she said, as far as trying to figure out what it's going to take to build this program to where it needs to be. We have a good, solid foundation of freshmen...We can only get better from here.
The Cherokees' lead hit as many as 12 and 14 points in the second and third games, respectively. T-M hopes to continue its hot finish to the regular season against a talented Panthers squad.
We peaked at a good time, said Gill, whose team also took down state-ranked Calallen two weeks ago. If you're going to peak, this is the time of the season to peak. We're still introducing new things every day in practice, keeping it fresh and keeping it clean. It helps keep them interested when there's new things to work on.
This edition of the Lady Coyotes will now hang up their uniforms for the year, but their coach will remember this group for its fight.
It's like (Gill) put it: we're the best scrappy team, De Los Santos said. No, we didn't have 6-foot tall girls. No, we didn't have club volleyball girls. We had girls who were just willing to work hard and do whatever it took to get the ball over the net...They pretty much gave me everything they had, and that's all I can ask for from a team.