Only one night’s rest between playoff matches was no problem for the Burnet High School volleyball team, which advanced to the regional quarterfinal round of the Class 4A playoffs.
After the co-District 19-4A champion Lady Dawgs (22-18 overall, 9-1 district) defeated Manor New Tech in straight sets Tuesday, Nov. 2, for a bi-district championship, they then beat Rusk 25-17, 25-7, 25-18 in the area round on Thursday, Nov. 4.
Burnet will face Giddings (29-16, 12-1 District 20-4A champion) in the regional quarterfinal on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 6:30 p.m. at Weiss High School, 5201 Wolf Pack Drive in Pflugerville. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Rusk (22-18, 5-4 District 17-4A) wanted to play on Nov. 4., and the coaches agreed to meet at Bryan High School, site of the Class 4A Region III tournament. Before saying yes to the date, which meant only one day between matches, Lady Dawgs head coach Crystal Shipley spoke with senior team captains Kayla Gillaspie and Rylee Hernandez.
Could they compete on such short rest, she asked.
“When they replied, with no hesitation, ‘We can do it,’ I knew we would be OK,” Shipley said. “We’ve had some great practices this past week, so I trusted them.”
The Lady Dawgs’ focal point was Rusk senior middle blocker Kaycee Johnson.
“She is definitely someone they depend on and go to as much as possible,” Shipley said. “We have been starting in a different rotation to put our best blockers on our opponents’ best hitters and our best hitters against their weakest blockers. So far, it has worked out well. We also knew that Rusk has a good block, especially with Johnson. We planned to run our fast offense as much as possible to avoid a double block.”
Shipley couldn’t praise her players enough for their accomplishments and how they represent their community.
“I’m so proud of our girls, not only for their competitiveness but for their passion and spirit, pride, and honor they displayed,” she said. “I just can’t explain the pride I have in my heart. These girls have put all their effort and passion into this sport. It’s amazing to think of where we started and where we are now. As a coach, you just hope you can witness everything come together and your athletes believe in themselves and each other. It’s incredible, and I’m so proud of them.”