LA PORTE - The Manvel Lady Mavericks saw their season come to a heartbreaking end with a 19-25, 26-24, 25-16, 19-25 and 15-12 four-set defeat to Barbers Hill in the Class 5A area volleyball playoffs Friday night at La Porte High School. 

Manvel closes its season at 30-13, while Barbers Hill advances to play Friendswood in the region quarterfinals on Nov. 6. The Lady Mustangs also eliminated a team from AISD last week in the area round with Shadow Creek suffering a 18- 25, 8-25 and 15-25 sweep on Thursday in Pearland. 

The Manvel-Barbers Hill collision featured another evenly matched contest between a pair of playoff powers, who went the distance for the second straight year. Manvel captured the regional quarterfinal showdown with the Lady Eagles in 2017. 

However, the Lady Eagles prevailed this time around with a Lady Mavs’ hitting error breaking an 11-11 stalemate in the fifth and deciding set. After Jessica’s Hardin kill was followed by Macy Sumrall’s ace to make it 14-11, Manvel pulled within 14-12 on a Barbers Hill hitting miscue. 

Sarah Lankford then delivered a match-point kill for the Lady Eagles, though, to cap the marathon thriller, which featured several spectacular diving plays on both ends to keep the ball in play. 

“Both teams fought very hard,” Manvel assistant coach Amanda Tacquard said following the match. “A lot of it was serving. It was neck and neck and serving won that game.” 

Barbers Hill broke the first set open with a 7-0 run, while the Lady Mavs fought back from deficits of 9-4 and 24-22 in the second game. A Lady Eagles’ error and sophomore outside hitter Hailey Turner’s spike tied the issue at 24 apiece, while junior middle blocker Morgan Smith followed another Barbers Hill miscue with a game-point kill. 

Manvel then dominated the third set behind the hitting of Smith, sophomore outside hitter Aryn Johnson, senior right-side hitter Macy Witt-Nobles and Turner, but a fourth-game point kill by Hardin (match-high 25) evened things at two sets apiece. 

Match totals for the Lady Mavs included Smith with 17 kills and three blocks; Witt- Nobles with 11 kills and three blocks; Johnson with nine kills and 26 digs; junior setter Ceci Harness with 50 assists and 20 digs for a double double; senior defensive specialist Michaela Kaspar with 18 digs; and Turner with eight kills. 

Harness just missed tying her match-best 51 assist plateau, which the junior accomplished against Dickinson in August. 

Manvel swept Houston Sterling by 25-7, 25-5 and 25-5 scores in the bi-district round on Oct. 30 at Barnett Field House in Houston. 

Match totals included Johnson with nine kills and six digs; Smith with eight kills, four aces, four digs and one block; Witt-Nobles with eight kills; Harness with 27 assists and five aces; Kaspar with four aces and four digs; Bre Garcia with four digs and Turner with two blocks. 

In the Lady Sharks’ area match on Thursday, Shadow Creek led 11-9 early in the first set behind the hitting of Alexis Williams and Halle Sanders. 

However, the Lady Mustangs went on an 11-1 run and never looked back with Ashlyn Svoboda (11 kills and 17 digs) closing the game out with back-to-back aces. Friendswood then jumped to a 9-1 lead in the second game with Svoboda and Mankensy Mabeck providing the hitting damage and the Lady Mustangs pulled away in the third set behind Elle McGown’s kill. 

Williams led Shadow Creek, who closes their season at 29- 12, with 10 kills. The Lady Sharks swept Houston Austin by 25-4, 25-6 and 25-6 bi-district scores on Oct. 30 at Barnett Field House in Houston. 

Match totals included Williams just missing a quadruple-double for Shadow Creek with 10 kills, 16 assists, eight digs and seven aces. Sanders (10 kills) and senior setter Kalyn Prothro (16 assists) also reached double figures for the Lady Sharks. 

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