PALESTINE — The Westwood Lady Panthers volleyball team traveled to Bullard Saturday to take on Sabine in the playoffs; and after wins in first two sets of 25-21 and 25-6, it seemed the game was in the bag.
But in the third set, everything changed.
The Lady Panthers were down at one point in the third set 18-6, when Westwood's Neeli Hardison came in and served six-straight points to bring the score to 18-12. After some back-and-forth play, the solid serving by Westwood continued.
The Lady Panthers brought the score to 24-24, with Sabine fighting for its playoff spot and Westwood trying to move on.
But Sabine came up victorious, scoring two-straight points to win the set 26-24 and sending the game to a fourth set.
The fourth set was much of the same, with back-and-forth scoring from both squads; but Sabine gained the win again, 27-25, and sent the game to a fifth and decisive set — the first team to 15 points would win the match.
The Lady Panthers did just that, winning that tie-breaking set by a score of 15-10.
“I felt like we were a little bit shaky tonight,” said Westwood coach Janae Evans. “We were a little bit nervous, maybe, but overall we did play really well and I was proud of them.”
Even with the nervousness of play by both teams, Evans said she could see strong points coming out from her team, especially in one area of the game.
“We served very well and were very aggressive,” Evans said. “It earned us a lot of points. We had talked about being consistent with that, and it really just worked out for us.”
Westwood is set to take on New Diana in the next round of the playoffs tonight at 7 p.m. at Chapel Hill High School in Tyler.