LITTLE ELM — It was a night of celebration for the Lady Eagles of Prosper High School. The team closed out the regular season on Tuesday, Oct. 24, defeating the Little Elm Lady Lobos in three sets.
The Lady Eagles were on the board first as senior Taryn Weber sent a kill down the line. With junior Kayla Martin back to serve, the team dominated early. Tech commit Haley Killinger recorded a huge kill out of the back row, followed by smart roll shot over the block by Weber to give Prosper the early lead. They scored four consecutive points before a net violation ended their scoring run. Junior Ciera Hecht got the Lady Eagles back on track after sending a powerful ball out of reach for Little Elm.
Back to back Prosper points forced the Lady Lobos to take a timeout, which proved to be beneficial, as they secured the next few points off of Prosper’s errors. But again, Hecht came to the rescue, this time at the service line as she dropped a ball right on the end line for an ace. The Lady Lobos were persistent, but Prosper remained ahead. Junior Morgan Monroe checked in off the bench and made a big impact as her ace gave Prosper the momentum to close out the set as the Lady Eagles put the set away at 25-12 with a Hope Gramly kill.
Set two was much more competitive as both teams jockeyed for the lead early. Gramly knotted the score at four after she slammed home a kill on the right side. Back at the service line, the senior added an ace, but the Lady Lobos rallied around their tough defense to get the ball back. The Lady Eagles suffered from their own errors, which kept the score tied. Killinger returned the momentum back to her side of the court with her killer jump serve.
“I try to play my best all the time, but today especially (because) it was our last district game,” Killinger said. “As a senior, I’m really excited for playoffs so I think that was my motivation.”
The senior served for five unanswered points before the Lady Lobos took a timeout to regroup. She carried the lead out to seven before a missed hit finally gave Little Elm a break. The break was short-lived however, as Monroe recorded two more aces on the night. The game got chippy as Little Elm rallied behind their home-court advantage, but after a tough last few points Prosper again emerged on top 25-16.
In a similar fashion, both teams battled in the opening points in the third. Strong serving allowed Prosper to pull ahead led by Monroe and Hecht. The team continued to push for points, jumping out to a 12-4 lead. As the set continued, the Lady Eagles rolled through the Little Elm defense. Minimizing their own errors, the team was able to capitalize offensively as their defense came alive. Senior Macy Walterscheid carried the team to the end of the match, as Prosper closed the set at 25-6 with a Gramly stuff at the net.
The Lady Eagles clinched the District 14-5A Championship with the win. They were undefeated in district play, posting a perfect 14-0 record. Despite a few errors, head coach Erin Kauffman said the team’s performance was a good way to end the regular season.
“We are a good team, and what I keep preaching is them is we control our side of the court,” Kauffman said.
Killinger was an offensive juggernaut in the match. She recorded a team 13 kills, 9 digs and 5 aces for the night, followed by Hecht, who wasn’t far off. The junior recorded 11 kills, 10 digs and 2 aces. Defensively, Martin was all over the floor, finishing the night with a 15-dig performance.
The Lady Eagles will hold a practice match at home on Friday, October 27 against the Southlake Lady Dragons at 6:30 p.m. They will begin their post season quest the following Tuesday, Oct.31 against Frisco Independence. The match will be played at McKinney High School at 7:30 p.m.
Kauffman knows the pressure of the post season, but feels confident in her team going forward.
“(Playoffs) are do-or-die,” she said. “We’re taking it one game at a time because if you overlook anybody then your season is over.”