The Prosper Lady Eagles earned a spot in the final game of the 2017 5A State Championship against Leander-Rouse on Saturday at Curtis Culwell Event Center in Garland.
Prosper handily beat Leander-Rouse 25-18 in the first set and it appeared the Lady Raiders were all but defeated. But Rouse, ranked number one in the state of Texas, would not go quietly, taking sets two and three 25-21 and 25-18, respectively.
In set three, Prosper faced a few hurdles and fell behind 15-5 early. Junior SFA commit, CiCi Hecht, crashed into the media row while attempting to recover a ball and was down for a number of minutes as trainers, medical staff and coaches surrounded her, but she was able to walk back to the Prosper bench unassisted. With Hecht out of the set, and possibly the entire match, freshman Samantha Jacobs entered the game. Rouse capitalized on the fractured core of the Lady Eagles and eventually used that momentum to win the third set.
The Lady Eagles approached the fourth set with a do-or-die mentality and fought back tying the score twelve different times in the set and creating a maddening five lead changes to force a fifth set by overtaking Rouse 25-23. Aiding in that win was Hecht, who came back in with a bandaged wrist and hand when the Lady Eagles were down 0-3 at the start of the fourth.
“The adrenaline just took over”, said Hecht. “I wanted to be there for my team.”
Rouse committed a few errors that the Lady Eagles used to their advantage in the fifth and final set of the championship. With the score tied at 12, senior Haley Killinger masterfully went for the kill. The score was 14-all and Killinger and Hecht teamed up for the last time. In the final play, an injured Hecht jumped up and delivered the kill that earned the Lady Eagles the State Championship and solidified Hecht as the MVP of the championship game.
Hope Gramly said ,“It goes to fifteen points for a reason, sixteen in this case, and when we started coming back I couldn’t believe it,”
“Our team is extremely mentally tough,” said Kauffman. “Anyone who watched sets two and three probably thought there is no way Prosper will win this. Our theme this year was ‘Leave Your Mark’ and I wanted people to walk out thinking Prosper put up a fight, even if the score had been flipped, people would have thought we put up a fight.”
Renee Marler | Cedarbrook Media