Sabine volleyball

Sabine's Samantha Bell (above, 8) plays the ball as teammates Ryanne Stuart and Sierrah Richter (4) look on. Sabine swept Waskom Tuesday night in the first round of the UIL Class 3A playoffs, and faces Commerce in round two.

LONGVIEW – The No. 6 ranked Sabine Lady Cardinals ended the regular season on a major roll, and a setback to Class 4A Gilmer in a tuneup match over the weekend did little to slow that momentum.

On Tuesday, the Lady Cardinals returned to the matches that count and Sabine had little trouble with the Waskom Lady Wildcats in a 25-11, 25-17, 25-14 Class 3A Bi-District playoff sweep at LeTourneau University's Solheim Arena.

Sabine (39-5) moves on to the area round to meet Commerce. Details of that match will be determined later. Waskom ends its season with a 23-17 record. The Lady Cardinals won 20 in a row to end the regular season before the loss to Gilmer.

Tuesday's match was a clinic from the service stripe, the net and from setter Sierrah Richter. With Richter handing out 27 assists and adding eight aces among her 20 service points, the Lady Cardinals never trailed and saw the match tied just once - that coming at 1-1 in the opening frame.

Mikinzi Cantrell hammered home 11 kills to go along with five service points and three digs. Ryanne Stuart had six kills. Richter finished with eight digs, Maddie Furrh four points and three kills, Caitlin Bates two points, Aubree McCann 17 points, two aces, five digs and two blocks, Ally Gresham five digs and Sam Bell three kills.

Karlee Waltrip had five assists in the loss for Waskom. Destiny beaty added three blocks, Brookelyn Loyd four assists and Malayiah Fields and Skyie Middlebrook two kills apiece.

After breaking serve at 1-1 in the opener, McCann went to the line and used a combo block by Stuart and Cantrell, a kill from Stuart, a serve that bounced off Middlebrook and another kill from Stuart to quickly push the lead to 6-1.

Waskom chipped away at the deficit and got to within five (12-7) after a couple of Sabine errors, and the deficit was a manageable six points (14-8) before a hammer from Cantrell off a Richter set sparked a 6-1 run that put the first set away.

Sabine held slim leads throughout the early-going of the second set before pulling away late. The lead was 18-14 before a couple of lift calls on Waskom and a Richter-to-Cantrell backset for a slam gave Sabine momentum for good.

Stuart ended the set with a rocket smash, and the third set was never really in doubt.

A McCann kill put Sabine on top 1-0 and broke serve, sending Richter to the stripe. She drilled three straight aces and led the Lady Cardinals on a 12-0 run before serving into the net.

Waskom put together a modest run to get to within 12-5 after a Fields kill, but Gresham picked up a ball and backset Bell for a kill that again moved momentum to Sabine's side.

Waskom made one final push, getting it to 18-12, but the next time McCann went to the service stripe she served four points in a row - thanks to kills from Cantrell and Furrh in the mix.

Finally, with Stuart serving, Waskom bumped a ball out of bounds for the final point and a sweep for the Lady Cardinals.

Jack Stallard is the sports editor of the Longview News-Journal.

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