Just over 72 hours removed from a 5-set loss that forced a playoff seeding match, the Thrall Tigerettes Granger Lady Lions took to the court again Tuesday in Milano to settle the second and third place playoff seedings. While Saturday’s match was exciting to the last point, Tuesday’s rematch was less climactic as the Tigerettes swept the Lady Lions 25-15, 25-14, 25-20 to claim the second seed.
After trailing Granger early, the Tigerettes’ Riley Krenek, knocked out a pair of kills off Aaliyah Couch sets that put the Tigerettes up 9-4. Granger stayed within striking range on kills by Carsyn Locklin-Bilbrey and Gracie Springfield, however a 9-0 run by Thrall put the set out of reach. Kelly Copeland knocked out three of her 11 kills on the night during the run and Chandra Reed added a kill that gave the Tigerettes a 20-8 lead.
Locklin-Bilbrey led a brief Granger rally with an ace and a kill along with three Thrall miscues that pulled Granger within 22-14. But Couch and Krenek combined for three more kills to close out the set for the Tigerettes.
Thrall never trailed in the second set. Granger stayed close early on but a series of Granger errors
gave Thrall a 10-3 advantage. Thrall slowly pulled away with Krenek and Reed controlling the net.
The final set looked more like a throw-back to Saturday’s match. Granger jumped out to an early 3-0 lead by a kill by Audrey Messex and the serves of Locklin-Bilbrey. Thrall rallied to take a 4-3 lead on a pair of kills by Reed and a kill from Krenek. A Springfield ace gave Granger the lead again, but consecutive kills by Krenek and Reed forced another lead change.
The score went back and forth through the match. Neither team could manage to maintain the momentum until McKenna Knapek’s ace gave the Tigerettes a 14-12 lead. Kelly Copeland, Reed, and Krenek took control which allowed Thrall to pull out to a 21-16 advantage. Granger would get no closer.
Thrall makes the playoffs for the eighth straight season and will face the Somerville at 6 p.m. Monday in Milano. Granger makes their first playoff appearance since 2009 after having one of their best seasons in school history. They will face the Snook at 6 p.m. Monday in Rockdale.