Aces High: Lady Broncos' back line attack buries Lady Panthers
After dropping the first five games of District 10-5A play, the McKinney Boyd volleyball team has now won nine consecutive sets.
With the Lady Broncos (3-1) already having left Plano Senior and Allen in their wake in the past week, Plano East (2-2) followed suit Tuesday night with a 3-0 setback (25-12, 25-21, 25-14) against Boyd .
"I don't think this was the real Plano East team," said Kelly Quinn, Boyd head coach. "They're a well-coached team and tonight, they were a little flat and we were able to capitalize on that.
"X's-and-O's-wise, I think we were able to get them out of system."
The Lady Broncos established that impression from the onset, ripping through the Lady Panthers' defense both up front and behind the back line. The latter was especially imposing, with Boyd recording seven aces in the first set.
"We had made some serving errors early on that we didn't need to be making," Quinn said, "so we've been focusing on serving under pressure; like serving at the end of practice when they're tired."
Five different Lady Broncos posted aces in the opening frame, including two from juniors Tori Turck and Parker Shepherd. Boyd would go on to finish the content with 11 total aces.
"You've got to pass well and be in system," said Steven Jones, East head coach. "We were out of system way too many times tonight, which makes you predictable and easy to block. We played right into their hands with that."
Boyd converted four aces within its first 10 points of the set, racing out to a 10-3 advantage. The Lady Panthers never recovered, surrendering three runs of 4-0 as the Lady Broncos cruised to the 25-12 win following a kill from senior Kelly Koop.
Boyd followed a similar script in the match's third set, setting an early tone behind a pair of aces from senior Krista Bukovec to establish a 4-1 lead.
The Lady Panthers would creep back to within one point at 8-7 following a tandem block by senior Sammy Myers and junior McKenzie Shea, but the Lady Broncos would respond with a 4-0 run capped by a Koop-Bukovec block of their own.
East's deficit wouldn't sink under four points for the rest of the set.
"We just couldn't get ourselves into a good play tonight," Jones said. "... We didn't give ourselves a chance to compete with [Boyd] tonight. We made a lot of errors tonight and you can't compete when you make that many mistakes."
That final set featured six kills from Boyd senior Megan Mollett, who was the only player to break the double-digit kill plateau by posting a match-high 15 on the night. Koop and Bukovec each added seven kills in the win.
"[Mollett] battled tonight," Quinn said. "She wasn't having her best match but what makes her so good is that when she's off, she can fight through it and that's a great sign of maturity."
The Lady Panthers were paced on the attack by senior Kayla Burling, who recorded seven kills in the loss. Senior Symone Stephenson added four kills while freshman Karyn Chrisman chipped in three.
The three were among the six Lady Panthers who converted kills in the night's second set, East's most abundant outing of the match.
A stanza that featured seven ties, East led for the first half of the frame and built a lead as big as 9-7 following a block from Shea and Myers -- the latter of whom had her fingerprints of four Lady Panther blocks in the second set.
The Lady Broncos weathered the early storm though, taking a lead at 10-9 following a Bukovec kill and again at 16-15 after Mollett converted an attack. The East errors began to mount from that point, including four errors in a six-point span that ballooned Boyd's advantage to 21-16.
A late Lady Panther rally that featured a kill and ace from Myers and a Shea block weren't enough though, with Bukovec slamming the door shut on a potential comeback.
It was the most that could be mustered by a Lady Panther squad without junior Lily Porsa, currently nursing an ankle injury, on the outside.
"When you lose a player like that who plays all the way around, it sets your team back," Jones said. "This is our third game without her and I don't know when we'll get her back, so we've got to step up."
Now at 2-2 after dropping two straight, the Lady Panthers will try to right the ship Friday at 6 p.m. at Plano West. Boyd, now winners of three straight, close out the first half of 10-5A against McKinney at the same time.