The Haughton Lady Bucs clinched at least a share of their third straight District I-II volleyball championship with a straight sets victory over Caddo Magnet Thursday night at Haughton.
Haughton improved to 10-11 overall and 8-0 in district. The Lady Bucs lead Northwood (13-9, 7-2) by two matches in the loss column with two district matches to play.
Because Haughton swept the two district matches against the Lady Falcons, the Lady Bucs will be the district’s first-place representative in the playoffs regardless of the outcome of their final two district matches next week.
Haughton’s remaining district matches are against Huntington on Tuesday and Booker T. Washington on Wednesday. The Lady Bucs beat both teams handily in the first half of district play.
But Haughton head coach Justin Ginn said now is not the time to relax.
“We had a goal of winning district for that third time,” he said. “That first round of district we didn’t lose a set so we made the challenge to go through district without losing a set. I don’t know if it’s been done before but that’s our goal. Today was a huge part of accomplishing that.
“(Caddo Magnet) came out and played hard. When you’re at the top of the district for whatever season it is, whether it’s one or two or three in a row, they’re coming after you. Northwood played great on Tuesday and Caddo Magnet played tough tonight. … I’m not saying we’re done yet, but we do have some work to do for sure.”
Elsewhere Thursday, Airline defeated Natchitoches Central 25-20, 27-25, 25-19 at home. While both teams are members of District 1-I, it wasn’t a designated district match.
Airline (19-12, 6-0) hosts Ruston (23-3, 6-0) on Tuesday with the district championship on the line.
Parkway lost two very tough, tight matches Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Lady Panthers fell to Natchitoches Central 26-24, 25-23, 25-22 in District 1-I play Tuesday at home. Wednesday, they fell to Evangel Christian in five sets in a non-district match on the road.
At Evangel, the teams played a whopping 252 points. Parkway won the first two sets 29-27 and 26-24. Evangel won the next two 25-22 and 27-25. The Lady Eagles outlasted the Lady Panthers 15-12 in the fifth.
Parkway dropped to 16-10 overall and 2-4 in district.
Haughton is looking to run the table in the district for the second year in a row.
While Thursday’s victory went the minimum three sets, it wasn’t particularly easy.
The Lady Bucs led much of the first set, but the Lady Mustangs made things interesting late, closing within 22-21. Taralyn Sweeney then made a big-time kill in the middle and Haughton won two of the next three points to close the set.
The Lady Bucs thoroughly dominated the second set, winning 25-9.
Haughton won the first two points of the final set, but Magnet reeled off six straight. The Lady Bucs rallied but still trailed 13-11. Haughton then started playing like it did in the second, outscoring the Lady Mustangs 14-5 and taking the set 25-18.
Arielle Emanuel led Haughton in kills with 12. Most of those came on angled smashes at her outside position after set-ups from teammates.
The dozen kills gave her 151 for the season, breaking the school record of 148 she set last year. Emanuel also had four digs and one ace.
Emanuel has been a key contributor to all three district titles.
“I’m very excited about it,” she said. “I’m proud of everybody on our team. They’ve really put a lot of effort in this year to help us win and of course our coaches are always there helping us.”
Mia McWilliams had a team-high 13 assists along with eight aces, three kills, one block and one dig.
Averi Phillips had nine assists and four aces. Sweeney finished with seven kills and a dig.
Sierra Lingo had four digs and two aces. Catherine Hudson had four aces, one kill, one dig and one block.
Reagan Jorstad had three digs and two aces. Jaycie Keith had three kills and one dig. Adrienne Vickers had two kills.
At Airline, Gabby Patronis had 14 digs, seven kills and three aces.
Tori Ligman had 13 digs along with four aces, one kill and one assist. Jaci Ervin had five digs, four blocks, three aces and one kill.
Ariana Wilkinson had nine digs, seven assists and three aces.
NOTE: Match statistics provided by coaches.