Setup: Lady Eagles down McKinney, win first district match
MCKINNEY—Allen broke back into the win column Tuesday and registered its first district victory with a sweep of McKinney (25-21, 25-20, 25-19), which remained winless with the loss. The teams entered the contest tied for last place in the district.
“We adjusted our defense and I think it helped a lot, because it improved our ball control, which allowed us to run our offense,” said Kelley Gregoriew, Allen head volleyball coach. “That was where we were kind of lacking.”
The Lady Eagles (1-3 in district) held a lead the majority of the match and only trailed early in sets. They managed to double-up on McKinney (0-4) midway through the first and second sets and rode that advantage through consecutive late rallies put together by the Lady Lions.
In the first set, Allen was up by as many as seven points, 17-10, before McKinney began chipping into its lead. The Lady Lions put together a 9-4 run to pull within a point of the lead, 21-20, but junior Camryn Freiberg blasted a pair of kills to help Allen close out.
McKinney would never get that close as late in a set again, as the Lady Eagles improved their play, and their margin of victory, between sets. They were up by as many as nine points in the second set and never allowed McKinney to pull closer than six points once they established that lead.
The final set followed a different script, as the Lady Lions came out firing and jumped to an early lead, 9-7. But once again, Allen worked methodically to take control of the game. The Lady Eagles tied things up on a block shared by Freiberg and freshman Chandler Atwood, who then laced the kill that pushed them ahead permanently, 10-9.
Allen then went on a 5-1 run from there to build a cushion it would defend the rest of the match. Freiberg finished the job she began by lacing the match-winner to finish with a match-high 12 kills. She was followed by sophomore Kaitlyn Blake, who had nine kills, and Atwood, who had five.
McKinney was led in kills by Logann King, who had 10 kills.
The Lady Eagles defense was bolstered by some recent defensive adjustments that include the addition of junior-varsity call up Shelby Perlich. They also moved Blake from the middle, where she normally plays, to the outside.
With the win, Allen moved within a match of Plano East, which occupies fourth place in the district with a 2-2 record. The Lady Eagles will close the first half of district Friday by hosting Plano for a 7 p.m. match. The Lady Wildcats beat Plano West on Tuesday to move into a three-way tie with them and McKinney Boyd for first place in the district.
“It will be a different match, but we’re ready for it,” Gregoriew said. “We’ve been slowly building and slowly getting better, so I’m hoping we can catch [Plano] off guard.”
McKinney will look for its first win when it travels to Boyd for a 6 p.m. match.
“I still think we can do something special,” said Jessica Camp, McKinney head volleyball coach. “We just have to go out there and do it.”