Thanks to a thrilling regular season finale, the Pleasanton Lady Eagles are back into the playoffs.
The Lady Eagles (14-11, 2-6) outlasted the Gonzales Lady Apaches in a five-set thriller (25-14, 19- 25, 17-25, 25-12, 20-18) on Friday, Oct. 23, to get back into the playoffs. The team dropped to the floor with joyful tears once the dust settled in the decisive fifth set.
“I was full of emotions,” senior Brianna Garcia said. “I was crying. I was happy. I was really excited to keep my season going, especially since it’s my last year. I was really proud of us for making it and getting in [to playoffs] so that we can keep playing as long as we can.”
Sophomore hitter Sadie McAda finished with 29 kills and 36 digs on Friday night. Junior setter Tess Underbrink had 42 assists and 17 digs. Additionally, Victoria Urbanczyk (17 kills, 19 digs) and Angel Tucker (10 digs, 10 blocks) had double-doubles, as well.
Head Coach Gabriel Aguirre was proud to see his team play with confidence despite falling behind 2-1 in the match.
“I was really happy with how we finished the Gonzales game,” Aguirre said. “I was telling them if we’d played like that all year long, who knows what would’ve happened. I was really happy with them sticking with it and finishing the game.”
Gonzales stole wins against some of the top teams in the district, including Navarro. So, the Lady Eagles knew they were going to have their work cut out for them.
“Gonzales had a lot of confidence from winning against Navarro,” McAda said. “It was really important to play with heart and just play for our seniors because that could’ve been their last game.”
Now the Lady Eagles are set to square off with a familiar foe, No. 10-ranked Wimberley (23-4). The two teams met at a neutral site for a non-district match early in the season that Wimberley won 3-0 (16-25, 17-25, 9-25).
“I love a challenge. Wimberley is definitely going to be hard,” Underbrink said. “Last year, we had Devine, who we knew was gonna be good. We fought them out. It was a really good game and I hope this one is, too.”
The Lady Eagles were without Urbanczyk in that non-district clash and are riding high on confidence knowing they have their full team back for the bidistrict playoff.
“I think we have confidence going into this one. We know Sadie’s gonna be strong,” Underbrink said. “When we played them the first time in Poth, we didn’t have Victoria. I think having her back is really gonna help. Getting to see them and playing them before is definitely going to give us an advantage.”
But this game won’t be a neutral site game. The Lady Eagles will welcome Wimberley to the cozy confines of the Pleasanton Athletic Complex. Though attendance is limited, the Lady Eagles still have a home court advantage.
“I think that’s gonna be a big help,” Aguirre said. “The girls already know everything about the court. We’ll have our fans, which we’ll probably have a bunch. It will really help to have them screaming and yelling for them.”
The match is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29.