SNYDER — Big Spring is headed to the state championship tournament.
The Lady Steers (31-13) may as well have been playing a home game Saturday against District 4-3A nemesis Abilene Wylie, as the crowd was very Big Spring-centric. And quite loud.
The Lady Steers — after dispatching rival Monahans to get to the Region I-3A tournament, then rallying for a win over Springtown — defeated the No. 4 Lady Bulldogs 25-23, 18-25, 25-16, 25-15, 17-15 to advance to the championship tournament in Garland — the first BSHS volleyball team to do so since 1977, when former Olympic volleyball player and Big Spring grad Rose Majors was a senior.
After falling behind early in the opening set, Big Spring charged back. Morgan Seaton tied the game at 20-all on a block. Wylie was forced to take a time out after the Lady Steers took a 23-21 lead, but the stunned Lady Bulldogs couldn't regain control.
Taking the first set was a major factor in the victory, according to Head Coach Lynn Osborne.
“We went in thinking we had a good shot at winning it all,” she said. “Once we took one game off Wylie it really came into focus.”
Wylie was no pushover, however, and the two teams were just beginning what turned into an all out war. The Lady Bulldogs nabbed the second set, but were stymied in the third when a 10-3 run by BSHS put WHS on the ropes.
Tied at 2-2, Big Spring jumped out to an early lead and Wylie couldn't recover in the shorter, decisive set. For the third time in as many matches, the Lady Steers put away their opponent in five games.
After defeating state ranked squads to get there, Osborne is confident her team has what it takes to bring home a Class 3A title.
“I believe this team is talented enough to be state champions,” she said. “They just have to overcome the excitement of it all and not be intimidated by geography. They really started to peak late and they're peaking at the best time now.”
Erin Pollard and Julianna Rodriguez were named to the Regional All-Tournament team, while Morgan Seaton received tourney Most Valuable Player honors.
Though happy the trio was awarded for its efforts, Osborne said the Lady Steers' success was dependent on the entire team.
“I'm excited for those three girls to be recognized, but it made me tense up a little, too,” she explained. “Volleyball is a true team sport. I was excited for them to receive these honors, but I felt that all the girls on the team were deserving of them. They all played extremely well. I was thrilled with all of their performances.”
Big Spring will play the state semifinal round against Decatur (39-7) on Friday at 1 p.m. at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.
A win would pit the Lady Steers against either Bellville (40-7) or College Station (31-11) in the champions game Saturday at 2 p.m.
Setters: Morgan Seaton, 23 assists, 20 kills, 12 digs, 6 blocks, 1 ace; Kinsey Wash, 27 assists, 11 digs.
Offense: Erin Pollard, 14 kills, 3 aces, 3 digs, 3 blocks; Kelsie Guinn, 10 kills, 4 digs, 2 blocks, 1 assist.
Defense: Julianna Rodriguez, 32 digs, 1 kill; Ebony Zavala, 29 digs, 5 kills.
Other: Tulsi Patel, 3 digs, 1 block, 1 kill; Leksey Yarbar, 1 dig.