PLANO – Seemingly dead in the water after a decisive first set loss, Plano senior outside hitter Alexandra Bishop took over against rival Sandwich.
Throughout the next two sets Bishop rifled down 12 of her match-high 15 kills as the Reapers staved off a whopping five match points in the second get to help rally Plano to a spine tingling 18-25, 32-30, 25-22 Interstate Eight Conference victory Tuesday evening at Reaper Gymnasium.
“It felt so good to come back after we had such a bad first set where we started off so rough,” Bishop said. “We haven’t been able to do that so far this year after we’ve lost the first game. But tonight was special and we finally made it happen against our rivals.”
Bishop also received some fine help from senior setter Maryssa Woodhouse (19 assists), juniors Emily Santolin (seven service points, five aces, five digs) and Alexa Sobieszczyk (seven points, five aces).
Sophomores Rita Lauro and Kalia Young kicked in with three blocks apiece as did freshman middle hitter Gabriela Videckis, who secured the win with her block on match point before the Plano student body in attendance stormed the floor.
“It was amazing to be able to get a block like that, that ended up winning the match,” Videckis said. “It was kind of a blur for me. But I’m so proud to be part of this team even though I’m a freshman.”
Plano (5-15, 1-4, I-8) couldn’t muster up much in the first set as Sandwich (8-12, 0-5) controlled the proceedings with senior Claire Allen registering nine of her team-leading 14 kills.
The Indians closed out the initial game with relative ease after a hitting error by the Reapers.
“I didn’t think we had much energy after that first set and I was hopeful we could get some momentum back for the second game,” Plano coach Brittany Schutter said. “Then we stuck it out, we didn’t give up and we were playing to win. I don’t think I’ve seen many games in my time that go to 30 points or more. But thankfully this one went our way.”
But the Reapers had to survive throughout a tooth-and-nail second set where the Indians had match point in their grasp five times before Bishop delivered with a pair of left side daggers including the point winner that evened up the match.
“I wanted the ball and there’s no point in the game that I don’t want it,” Bishop said. “Right there, after I put it down, I knew we’d be able to close out the match because we had so much confidence going into the third game.”
Sandwich took a slim 10-9 lead in the final set before Plano countered with a 10-3 run after two consecutive aces from Santolin to go ahead 19-13.
The Reapers would eventually lead 22-18 after Woodhouse gave Bishop a great set that she pounded home from the right side which set up the final stages of Plano’s huge triumph.
“I thought that was a big point for sure because even though we were ahead we needed to get more,” Woodhouse said.
From there, Bishop produced an ace on her serve that put the Reapers up 23-18 before Sandwich countered with a 4-1 rally off a left side kill from senior Alana Stahl (eight kills) that cut the Indian gap to 24-22.
But Videckis ended the match with the big block that sent Sandwich home disappointed after its early dominance. Senior Alexis Sexton chipped in with a contest best 26 assists while senior Breanna Sexton added 13 digs for the Indians.
“Plano brought the energy and Alex Bishop had a great night,” Sandwich coach Selynda Kern said. “My team struggled with blocking which led to our defense having to do more. Claire (Allen) did a great job of putting the ball away. We missed too many serves which gave them free points and in a close game like that we can’t do that. Plano played very well.”