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Season ends for Lubbock-Cooper volleyball with loss in region semifinals

There were moments Dana Hill thought the version of the Lubbock-Cooper volleyball team she had seen throughout the season was about to emerge.

Colleyville Heritage made sure those moments were few and far between on Friday night at Coronado High School. Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex teams are just different, and the Lady Panthers proved that in a 3-0 sweep in the Region I-5A semifinals.

"We talked about kind of our game plan was that we were gonna have to play near perfect to beat the No. 1 team in the state," Hill, the Lubbock-Cooper head coach, said. "We just couldn't get out of certain rotations, and that kind of killed us."

Hill noted that Heritage's quick offensive attack was something her team hadn't seen since early in the season during tournament play.

The Lady Pirates (37-6) had a good start to the match, jumping out to a 4-1 lead in front of a heavy presence of Cooper fans. Heritage — which won 25-18, 25-8 and 25-12 — took the quick setback and turned it around, going on a pair of 7-2 runs that brought the first set to a close.

Cooper couldn't continue the torrid pace much longer. In the second set, it was a 10-0 spurt by the Lady Panthers (40-7) that put the frame out of reach. The Lady Pirates didn't help their own cause, with five of those points coming via hitting errors.

Lubbock-Cooper's Hope Douglass passes the ball against Colleyville Heritage in the Region I-5A semifinals volleyball match, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at Coronado High School.
Lubbock-Cooper's Hope Douglass passes the ball against Colleyville Heritage in the Region I-5A semifinals volleyball match, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at Coronado High School.

The team huddles after the second set couldn't have been more different.

Heritage was loose, bouncing around, having a good time. Lubbock-Cooper, meanwhile, spent the entire three-minute intermission in a tight circle, arms interlocked behind each others backs, trying to find a way to get back in it.

There would be no dramatic comeback. The Lady Panthers shut down the Cooper attack at every turn for the sweep.

"I'm proud of our girls," Hill said. "I thought there were times when we showed sparks of the old Cooper, kind of what we've done to get to this point. And there were times I kind of felt ... we knew. You know, just kind of at some point had given up, but you know, it didn't take away from the great season that we had."

Lubbock Cooper head coach Dana Hill speaks to her players against Colleyville Heritage in the Region I-5A semifinals volleyball match, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at Coronado High School.
Lubbock Cooper head coach Dana Hill speaks to her players against Colleyville Heritage in the Region I-5A semifinals volleyball match, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at Coronado High School.

The Lady Pirates were making their second region-tournament appearance in school history, and the first since 2012. The season also included a third consecutive district championship.

Following the season-ending loss, the team spent about 45 minutes in the locker room to collect themselves and talk about what the season that was.

"It was just the girls kind of talking to each other, thanking the seniors for their amazing leadership and that they left this program better than they found it and they set the bar really high," Hill said. "And just admonishing them to come back and make sure that they continue to carry the torch."

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Season ends for Lubbock-Cooper volleyball with loss in region semifinals