By Chuck Reherman
EDMOND – Going into the third set of the regional finals, Yukon was looking for one thing.
Pulling off an upset of the top seed and earning their first ever berth to the state tournament.
Edmond Memorial had other ideas.
The Lady Bulldogs came back with a 25-10 third set win and went on to beat the Millerettes 3-1 in the Region 2 finals at Memorial.
Yukon had reached the finals with a five-set win over Ponca City in the opening round, 3-2, then tied the finals 1-1 with a 25-18 win in the second set. Memorial took control of the third set and won the regional title with a 25-20 win in the fourth set. EMHS had won the opening set 25-13.
“We fought all the way to the end,” Millerette head coach Rachel Allred said. “That was the best feeling regionals we have had in a long time. As a group, especially for my seniors, there has been years where we have come in ranked higher and had more wins, then fallen apart in the regionals. I feel like this year we came in ranked low, played the highest ranked team we have all season and the fight didn’t go away. That’s all I can ask of them.
“That third set was pretty ugly, but we came back in the fourth and showed our determination and no quit,” she said. “There were definitely highlights, every year we get closer and closer and want it to be the final step and get there. This year I felt this was the closest we have ever been.
“We had a chance to get frustrated and quit in that fourth set after getting down like we did, but we came back and closed it. They really impressed me overcoming that temptation to give in and be ready for it to be over, they fought back and gave it there all. Once Edmond got to 24, we fought off three match points before they got their final point. That showed a lot of fight to focus and fight all the way.”
Memorial had taken control of the first set 16-8 and went on to a 25-13 win.
But, the Millerettes turned things around in the second. Kills from Addie Wimmer, Bri Worth, Katie Clark and Rachel Kittell opened a 14-10 lead. Wimmer, Worth, Clark and Katelynn Biswell had kills that opened a 23-18 lead.
Two Clark blocks in a row led to the Millerettes 25-13 win.
“We shut them down at the net and had some really good blocks in the second set,” Allred said. “Katelynn was coming off her best game of the season against Ponca City and we were coming off five games in a row so we were definitely warmed up. I told them I would rather be coming in playing from five that sitting for five.
“I think we used that to our advantage and caught Memorial by surprise,” she said. “The first set was slow and sloppy on defense, but the second set we didn’t let any balls hit the ground. Our blocks were stronger and we were picking them apart with our offense. Our hitters were on. We didn’t want them to think it was just a lucky set.”
Memorial did come back in the third to open a 9-3 lead and expanded their lead to 23-10 before scoring the final two points.
In the fourth set, the Millerettes had their chances tying the set at 7-7 and at 10-10. Memporial went on an 8-0 run to open an 18-10 lead.
In the opening match, the Millerettes were down 12-8 in the fifth set and came back to win 15-12 to win the match.
YHS won the first set 25-16, lost the second, 25-19, took the third 25-22, but lost the fourth set 26-24.