WESTLAKE — The 14th-seeded Cecilia volleyball team’s season came to an end Monday night when it fell to No. 3 Westlake 3-1 (25-14, 25-17, 25-27, 25-20) in the second round of the Division III state volleyball playoffs, but not before putting the Rams on the ropes with a late comeback attempt.
After dropping the first two sets, the Bulldogs (20-16) fought against the Rams (33-3) to keep their season alive, forcing a fourth set and threatening to force a match-deciding fifth.
Westlake dominated the first set after an early 10-0 run gave the Rams a 12-2 lead, allowing them to coast to an easy 25-14 victory without much of a threat from Cecilia.
It seemed as the second set would play out much like the first, as Westlake once again jumped out to an early 10-2 lead.
But the Bulldogs wouldn’t allow the Rams to get comfortable for the remainder of the contest, responding by scoring six consecutive points to cut Westlake’s lead to just two points.
Cecilia never gained a lead in the second set, but it proved it could contend with Westlake as it kept the set close until Westlake scored six of the final seven points of the set for a 25-17 victory and a 2-0 advantage.
With their season hanging in the balance, the Bulldogs fought hard to stay alive in the third set. After allowing the Rams to earn first four points of the set, Cecilia came out of a timeout and rattled off four of their own to tie the set.
While Westlake maintained the advantage for a majority of the set, the Bulldogs kept fighting back until, trailing 18-14, they put together a 7-0 run to take a 21-18 lead, their first of the match.
Cecilia staved off Westlake’s attempts to steal the set back until finally finishing it with a 27-25 win that extended the contest.
With an opportunity to tie the contest and force a match-deciding fifth set, the Bulldogs battled in a back-and-forth fifth set in which neither team seemed to be able to gain a major advantage.
Westlake seemed to finally have the contest in hand when it when on a 7-1 run that gave it a 17-12 lead, but Cecilia put itself back in it with four consecutive points to cut the Rams’ lead to just a point.
The Rams soon after went on one final 5-0 run that gave them a 23-17 lead before they finally put an end to the contest and the Bulldogs’ season with a 25-20 victory.
“They are a scrappy team, and we knew that coming in,” Westlake coach Gloria Fontenot said. “They gave us a run for our money, and that’s a tough thing to do (on the road), and they did well playing with that.”