• Sophomore Madison Stanley slams the ball past Jim Ned defenders during  UIL Bi-District Playoff Game in Abilene. The Lady Buckaroos fell in five sets.

Lady Buckaroos end season after falling in five-set playoff thriller

ABILENE— The Breckenridge High School volleyball team’s season came to an end after the Lady Buckaroos fell to Jim Ned in five sets.

Facing an early sweep after falling in the first two sets 26-24 and 25-22, Breckenridge coach Jeana Yarbrough said her Lady Buckaroos mounted one of the greatest comebacks she’s seen all season, taking the next two sets 25-16 and 25-21 only to fall in the fifth set 15-11.

“I wasn’t ready to wrap it up. I didn’t expect to wrap it up tonight,” Yarbrough said. “Even going into set three, down two sets, I didn’t expect to wrap it up tonight. I didn’t expect to wrap it up when it was 11-11 (in the final set). I expected to pull it out. It’s heartbreaking … I have never seen a group of girls battle as much as they battled tonight.”

Sophomore outside hitter Madison Stanley’s third-set opening kill had the Lady Buckaroos going early, with senior outside hitter Kelli Wilcox contributing a kill, and senior middle blocker Makenna Moser adding an ace to put Breckenridge up 4-1. Stanley later went on a 3-point tear with a kill, block and ace to keep the Lady Bucks’ lead at 3 points, then a Wilcox kill and a kill by junior setter McKinly Roberts gave Breckenridge a 6-point margin for error. An ace by senior outside hitter Maria Alvarado set up match point, then Stanley staved off elimination with a kill to take the set.

“We were saying ‘We need to fight our hardest to come back,’” Wilcox said. “We didn’t (win), but it’s OK. We fought. It was crazy. I was just trying to keep my head up, even though we got down pretty bad. We just kept fighting.”

In set four, the Lady Buckaroos went on another 4-1 run, this time on an ace by Moser with a tip and kills for points by Stanley. Aces by senior outside hitter Grace Nicklas and Alvarado provided a cushion for Breckenridge, which maintained until a Wilcox kill set up match point 24-20. A net violation two exchanges later decided the game 25-21.

Jim Ned jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set, prompting a timeout from Yarbrough. Once the Lady Bucks regained their footing, Stanley kicked off a 4-point run, capped off by three consecutive aces by Moser. Both teams exchanged point after point, with Wilcox scoring on a push, Roberts on an off-rhythm dig and Nicklas on a kill that would turn out to be the Lady Buckaroos’ final point of the season. Jim Ned then went on a 4-0 to take the set 15-11, and the game 3-2.

“We never really got down,” Moser said. “We were always enthusiastic and yelling the whole time. It’s kind of crazy to walk away from these girls I’ve played with for six years or more. All we can do is hope for the best for next year’s team, learn to hand it up and move on.”

With much of her senior roster returning next season, Yarbrough said she is hopeful for the future and plans to go back to the drawing board Tuesday in preparation for 2018.

“I’m very confident. We just talked to the girls about moving forward and getting ready in the offseason and putting in the work. We have unfinished business” Yarbrough said.

The Breckenridge American


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