The Clear Springs Chargers brushed off a rough start and came back from being two sets down to defeat the Deer Park Lady Deer — 19-25, 17-25, 25-19, 25-13, 15-10 — in their Region III-6A quarterfinal volleyball playoff match Saturday at Clear Falls High School.
“It was amazing, being down two sets and coming back,” Clear Springs senior outside hitter Shyia Richardson said. “I knew we could do it, and we put it into action. It was just great.”
After losing the second set, Clear Springs head volleyball coach Shannon McClellen pulled her team into the hallway for a frank discussion, and the Chargers, led by a pair of kills from Richardson, raced out to a 5-1 lead to start the third set.
“After we were down losing the first two sets, we had to regroup,” Richardson said. “Every touch counted, so it was important to have more energy than they did, for sure.”
Clear Springs fell behind 11-9 later in the third set, but then exploded for a 10-1 run to take over the frame. A pair of big blocks from Teia Woodson and an ace from Miranda Mueck highlighted the scoring sprint.
Led by two kills from Richardson, the Chargers got off to a 6-1 start to begin the fourth set and never trailed to force the deciding fifth set. Leading 11-9, a 9-1 run from Clear Springs put the fourth set out of Deer Park’s reach. Mueck had two more aces during Clear Springs’ surge.
Behind 2-1 at the start of the fifth set, the Chargers scored five unanswered points on three kills from Woodson and two kills from Richardson to put themselves in the proverbial driver’s seat.
The Lady Deer rallied to tie the score at 7-all, but Clear Springs out-paced Deer Park 8-3 from there — including a 5-1 run to end the match. Lizzie Canady had a kill and Woodson had a big block to start the match-ending run, and kills from Woodson and Grace King finished it off.
“The thing I’m most proud about this team is it’s different people each match stepping up,” McClellen said. “I sub kids in pretty regularly, and the depth that I have on my bench has definitely been beneficial to us this whole season.”
Miscues plagued Clear Springs in the first two sets, as multiple errors aided big scoring runs for Deer Park.
With the first set tied 14-14, the Lady Deer put together a set-deciding 7-1 run that featured four Chargers errors, including three straight hits crashing into the net at one point. At 8-all in the second set, another 7-1 Deer Park run, this one seeing three Clear Springs errors, was too much for the Chargers to overcome in that frame.
“We made a lot of mistakes in the first two sets, so we went out in the hallway and just said that we need to clean up what we were doing, and play our game of volleyball,” McClellen said. “We looked a little frantic, a little panicked. Their fan base is pretty loud, and I think that got in our heads a little bit in the first two sets.
“We had to come out a little more focused, and I think we did that in the third set and remained that way,” McClellen added.
Leaders for Clear Springs were Shyia Richardson with 24 kills, Ashley Richardson with 38 assists, Woodson with five blocks, Mueck with three aces, and Alyssa Christiansen with 22 digs.
The Chargers advance to the Region III-6A semifinals where they will face Katy at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Houston ISD’s Pavilion Arena, 7525 Tidwell Rd., Houston.