PLANO - HP fought back twice to tie the score during a crucial third set, but Plano West gained a narrow edge in the 30-28 set and went on to beat the Lady Scots, 3-1, in non-district action.
The loss snapped the Lady Scots' four-match win streak and leaves them at 7-3 on the young season. HP heads to the Byron Nelson Classic this weekend, where most of the state's top teams will be in the 24-team field.
HP won the first set, 25-23, holding on at the end to preserve its quick start. The Lady Scots are 7-3 in first sets this season.
The second set, however, went south quickly as five hitting errors at the start helped Plano West to an 8-3 lead. HP couldn't score on its serve in the set, which it lost 25-16. The Lady Scots lost the first 11 points in which they served until Elizabeth Lee came up with an ace that brought HP to within 21-13. The Lady Scots scored only three points on their 16 serves in the set.
Plano West used the momentum gained from the second set to take an 11-5 lead in the third, but HP continued to stay in striking distance. Down 24-21, the Lady Scots rallied sparked by a kill by Malia Williams. Two hitting errors by Plano West tied the score at 24-24, and Hope Ogden's ace allowed HP to serve for the set on the next point.
HP was called for a lift, however, and the set remained close up to a 28-28 score. A double-hit call on the Lady Scots gave Plano West a 29-28 lead, and it scored a kill to win the nailbiter, 30-28.
It was only the second time this season that HP lost a set that went beyond the 25-point mark.
The Lady Scots used Williams' play at the net, combo blocks by Logan Vanderslice and Brittany Fersing and Williams and Margeaux Mendenhall, plus a kill by Mendenhall to take a 9-6 lead in the third set.
Plano West rallied to get within 10-10, but on an apparent block by Ogden, HP was called for running into the net. Instead of an 11-10 lead, HP was instead down a point, and Plano West rattled off a five-point spree for a 15-10 lead.
HP, perhaps forcing the issue in frustration, had four attacks sail long out of bounds and were called to three hitting errors as Plano West clinched the match with a 25-15 win in the third set.
The Lady Scots' next match is Friday afternoon in Trophy Club, where they will open the Byron Nelson Classic against a top state-wide field of Class 4A teams. HP's pool-play schedule had not been announced as of Tuesday night.
The Lady Scots have plenty of momentum coming out of a solid first week, having made some history at the Duncanville Tournament of Champions. It was HP's best showing at the tournament in head coach Michael Dearman's seven seasons with the Lady Scots, and HP is 7-2, marking its best start yet under Dearman.
But any coach will tell you, that was then, this is now. Ahead on the schedule is a tough road match at Plano West, then a return to the Byron Nelson Classic that has always given HP trouble competing against many of the state's top Class 4A teams. Plano West just missed being ranked in the state poll after its own successful run at Duncanville. Plano West won the last meeting last year at the Duncanville Tournament.
The Nelson Classic, which was handed over from Justin Northwest now that Northwest has moved up to Class 5A, is one of the state's top tournaments and has a tradition of congregating the top 4A programs, and serves as an accurate preview of the state playoffs ahead. The bracket has not been released as of this writing, but known to be in the field are Austin Lake Travis, the state's top-ranked team, Friendswood (also state-ranked), defending state champion Canyon Randall, Magnolia (which beat HP in Duncanville last week), Waco Midway, Dumas, Hereford and Red Oak.
It's a star-studded cast for the two-day tournament that begins with pool play on Friday hosted in the brand-new facilities at Nelson High in Trophy Club. ScotSports.com will publish HP's pool play schedule as soon as we get it.
Here are ScotSports.com's exclusive rankings for all Region II-4A teams in which HP stays at No. 2 behind Richardson Pearce.
Region II-4A Rankings
Aug. 16, 2010
1. Richardson Pearce expanded the gap over the rest of the region with the championship of the Duncanville Tournament of Champions. They stay on top until someone knocks them off. Last week: 1.
2. HP showed plenty of grit at the Duncanville Tournament of Champions with a 5-2 finish that included a sweep of Class 5A powers Arlington Martin and Arlington within four hours. Last week: 3
3. Red Oak redeemed itself by winning the Denton Ryan Tournament, regaining a measure of confidence after being swept by Pearce and HP last Tuesday. Last week: 4.
4. Pflugerville Connally came up big at the Round Rock Westwood Showcase, going 5-1 in pool play, including a win over eventual runner-up San Antonio Johnson and reached the Silver Bracket semifinals. Last week: unranked.
5. Hutto went 3-3 in pool play, falling to Pflugerville Connally in pool but beating Elgin in bracket play to reach the Silver Bracket semifinals. Last week: 5.
6. Waxahachie's third-place finish at the Denton Ryan Tournament moved them up a few spots, with their only blemish coming to Red Oak. Last week: 7.
7. Elgin went 2-4 in pool play at the Westwood Showcase playing against mostly 5A schools. Last week: 8.
8. Frisco Centennial's fifth-place finish at the Denton Ryan Tournament following a loss to Class 3A Prosper doesn't inspire us at this point. Last week: 2.
9. Pflugerville Hendrickson ran into a tough 5A-laden pool-play mix at the Westwood Showcase. We'll stick with them one more week to see if they bounce back. Last week: 9.
10. Rockwall-Heath came back after reaching the quarterfinals of the Garland ISD Tournament to win the Consolation Gold bracket over rival Rockwall. Last week: unranked.
Fell out of poll: Frisco Liberty (6), McKinney North (10).
Others to Watch: Midlothian, Hallsville, McKinney North.
DUNCANVILLE - Head coach Michael Dearman talked about HP apprearing to fade - "running out of gas" was the term he used - during HP's two losses Friday at the Duncanville Tournament of Champions.
Turns out the Lady Scots are fast learners. HP showed no signs of wear during a three-match stay Saturday, and closed out its appearance in one of the state's premier tournaments with a win for the first time in Dearman's seven seasons. HP rallied from first-set deficits to win over Arlington Martin and Keller, and endured an elongated match to post a 28-26, 28-26 win over Arlington en route to the Consolation Silver Division championship.
HP's 5-2 record at the DTOC was its best under Dearman, and gives it a 7-2 overall record that also the program's best start to a season during his tenure.
The return of Margeaux Mendenhall did wonders for the Lady Scots' aggressive play at the net, and she was rewarded by being named to the All-Tournament team, quite a compliment for an HP team that finished in the equivalent of 13th place.
"The competition we went up against was great for us," Dearman said. "You don't know what you're capable of unless you're being challenged. It was a series of firsts for us here, and now we need to build on it because the schedule doesn't get easier."
Mendenhall led the way against Arlington Martin, where after falling in the first set 25-13, the Lady Scots controlled the tempo during the rest of the 25-14, 25-19 win.
Against Arlington, the senior Texas A&M commitment had 14 kills and an ace to end the match. She also had a three-kills string that brought HP back from a 26-25 deficit to a 28-26 win. In the second set, HP's last four points came either from a Mendenhall kill or an ace.
Hope Ogden was also a catalyst aginat Arlington with four kills, a block and an ace. The Lady Scots' presence at the net led create some havoc for Arlington as well. The Lady Colts, traditionally a Class 5A area power, had four hitting errors and five service errors that helped HP's scoring.
Sharp serving by Isabel Herndon marked the early going of a see-saw match against Keller in the finale. Herndon dropped three aces within HP's first four points and the Lady Scots raced out to a 7-2 lead. Ogden, Brittany Fersing and Mendenhall (three) each had kills and Caroline Culwell had an ace during a 7-0 run that to expand the Lady Scots' lead to 17-8.
Hitting errors and serving troubles hauted HP for the rest of the first set, which HP lost, 26-24.
Elizabeth Lee sparked a comeback in the second set with two kills and fine defensive play at the net. HP tallied 10 kills and a block during a 14-8 run that won the second set, 25-20.
The third set was back-and-forth with Malia Williams doing well at the net for HP. Two hitting errors on HP put Keller ahead 23-21. Following a timeout, the Lady Scots went to Culwell, who delivered two kills to tie the score. Keller scored a kill on the next service, putting HP down 24-23.
Mendenhall scored a kill, and Herndon delivered two unreturnable servces for aces to close out the match in dramatic fashion as the Lady Scots charged onto the court.
"We talked during the timeout at 23-21 that we wanted to be aggressive and not be timid," Dearman said. "Serving has been a real focus for us so far. We always want to be aggressive and take teams out of their systems."
Dearman always schedules a tough road for his teams, and 2010 won't be any different. A number of the Lady Scots' future opponents also fared well at the DTOC, including tournament champion Richardson Pearce (beating Class 5A Austin Westlake in the final), Tuesday's upcoming opponent Plano West (which placed fifth after being Amarillo and Magnolia), Flower Mound Marcus (third place), Southlake Carroll (consolation champions). Plano East and new District 10-4A foe Wylie made deep runs in the consolation bracket. . . . The Lady Scots continue to do well in crunch time. Four of HP's eight sets on Saturday went to extra points past the usual 25 to get a two-point winning margin, and the Lady Scots were 5-1 in those sets. . . . HP's win over Arlington Martin marked the Lady Scots' first win in the four-year-old Sandra Meadows Arena, the primary competition gym at the DTOC. The Lady Scots came back three hours later and beat Arlington on the same floor. . . . HP's wins Saturday made for another long day. The Lady Scots had to stay at DHS for nine hours to play three matches. They were there for 13 hours on Friday.
HP's results Saturday at the Duncanville Tournament of Champions
(playing in Consolation Silver Division bracket)
Quarterfinals - HP def. Arlington Martin, 13-25, 25-14, 25-19
Semifinals - HP def. Arlington, 28-26, 28-26
Championship - HP def. Keller, 24-26, 25-20, 26-24
DUNCANVILLE - HP closed its first day at the top-flight Duncanville Tournament of Champions with a split of four games, finishing off a 14-hour day at the gym with a win over Stephenville that served as a bookends to a successful day.
The Lady Scots (4-2) opened the tournament at 8 a.m. with a sweep of League City Clear Springs, 25-7, 25-23, before running into what has turned out to be the upset darling of the tournament in Magnolia. The Lady Bulldogs took advantage of HP's errors to win the first set, but HP rallied to win the second, 25-19.
Magnolia won the third, 25-16, and used the win as a springboard to upset defending Class 5A champion Amarillo in the next round with a sweep. Magnolia, a Class 4A school from the Houston area, faces Richardson Pearce in the semifinals at 8 a.m. Saturday.
"We opened up against Clear Springs and it was the best we've played this season, at least in the first set," HP coach Michael Dearman said. "In the second set, we had 13 unforced errors but fought through it to win.
"The execution mistakes followed us into the Magnolia match. We didn't pass well, and they were playing very well, and we couldn't match what they were doing."
Dearman said HP looked fatigued against Houston Clear Lake in the next match, which came on the heels of a quick 30-minute turnaround from its Magnolia loss. HP took the first set, 26-24, but ran out of gas, Dearman said. The match teetered back-and-forth in the third set and was tied at 20-20 before Clear Lake pulled away, 25-21.
Every HP team in Dearman's seven years at the school had advanced to the second day of play at the Duncanville tournament. Coming off two losses Friday afternoon, the Lady Scots faced elimination that evening night if they lost to Stephenville, one of only a handful of 4A teams in the 39-team bracket.
"I told them about that history before the match," Dearman said. "I said we weren't coming back on Saturday if we didn't win. They said a confident 'we aren't going to lose,' and had the right look in their eye. They were plenty motivated to win."
What followed against Stephenville was another great effort, as HP dominated the net and cruised to a 25-14, 25-14 win. Margeaux Mendenhall, who returned from a shoulder injury in Friday's matches, had nine kills and two blocks in leading the net assault. Malia Williams had five kills and two blocks, and Hope Ogden had three kills and a block.
HP will face either Arlington Martin or Colleyville Heritage at 10 a.m. in the Sandra Meadows Arena on Saturday. A win there would advance them to the Consolation Silver Division semifinals at 1 p.m. to face the winner between Arlington and San Angelo. The Silver Division championship match is at 3 p.m.
Home page photos by Jeremy Chesnutt of TexasShooters Photography; texasshooters.com
Duncanville Tournament of Champions
First Round - HP def. League City Clear Springs 25-7, 25-23
Second Round - Magnolia def. HP 25-14, 19-25, 25-16
Consolation Second Round - Houston Clear Lake def. HP 24-26, 25-16, 25-21
Consolation Silver Division first round - HP def. Stephenville 25-14, 25-14