By Karl Terry: PNT managing editor
It took five games to decide it, but Dora narrowly advanced to the second round of the District 3-1A with a win over Floyd, 21-25, 25-21, 25-19, 18-25, 15-10.
The Lady Coyotes face Melrose at 6 p.m. tonight in Melrose in the quarterfinal.
“They played a great game,” Dora coach Mal Webster said of her team. “They really stepped it up. These last few games things have really changed on the team.”
After losing the first game to Floyd, Dora controlled the tempo through the second and third games. They only gave up the lead briefly in each.
Floyd then played its toughest game of the night in the fourth as the Lady Bronco defense rallied to stop a Dora offense that became progressively more crisp and mechanical as the night went on.
Dora jumped out to a 6-2 lead early in the rubber match then ran the margin to 10-6 as the Floyd defense stiffened but their attack fizzled.
Floyd won a long volley at 10-7 but immediately served the ball into the net to pass serve back to Dora.
Floyd senior Brook Reed rallied her team briefly with a kill to close the gap to 11-9 but the mental errors continued to unwind the Lady Broncos season.
A strong serve by Dora junior Kendra Merrick proved too much for Floyd to handle as the Lady Coyotes advanced to game-point at 14-10. Then Floyd hit a volley wide-right to end the game and their season.
“We had a lot of talent, we just couldn’t seem to get it together,” Floyd coach Tandee Delk said, reflecting on the Lady Bronco season.
The game was the last for seniors Reed, Alexis Benoit, Hannah Love, and Rachel Wilhite.
“We didn’t play well tonight,” Delk said. “They (Dora) wanted it more than we did. They deserved it.”
Floyd and Dora split in the regular district season with Floyd winning the first one and Dora taking the last two matchups between the two teams.
A first-year coach Webster credits her team’s newfound confidence for most of that but admits that learning a new coach and new system probably also added to the slow start. Either way she’s optimistic about taking on Melrose, a team they’ve also split with this year.
“Just knowing that they can win (has made the difference), Webster said of her team. “They’re finally realizing they can do it if they want to.”