Lara Bwicheilug and Brinly Burke

Daily Sun File photo/Ron Farmer

Lara Bwicheilug (left) and Brinly Burke, seen here in the season opener, have both been key members of this year's Lady Tigers volleyball team.

ENNIS — The second half of district play got started for the Corsicana volleyball Tuesday night with coach Mashequa Gentry’s Lady Tigers looking to defeat their northern rivals and get back into the playoff hunt.

Coming into the game, Corsicana was tied for fifth place, two games behind fourth-place Ennis and the final playoff spot.  A win by the Lady Tigers would pull Corsicana to within a game of Ennis and a split of the two-game season series.

Unfortunately for Corsicana, the Lady Tigers dropped another hard fought five-set match to the Ennis as the Lady Lions rallied for a 25-17, 11-25, 16-25, 25-20, 15-4 victory to give the Lady Lions some separation in the playoff chase.

After dropping the first set, the Lady Tigers dominated the Ennis in the second set, 25-11, to pull even at 1-1.  Corsicana, behind the serving of Lara Bwicheilug and defense of Madison DePugh, raced out to a 6-0 lead in the set.

A Paige Franks spike would push the lead to double digits, 18-8, before serving out the last two points to level the match after two sets.

Ennis would start strong in the third set, getting out to an 8-3 lead before the Lady Tigers would rally behind the serving of Kayla Esa and a strong defense.  Corsicana would score nine consecutive points to take a 12-8 lead behind blocks by DePugh and Bwicheilug and digs by Esa and Brinly Burke.

A spike by Franks would give the Lady Tigers a nine-point lead, 20-11, before DePugh served the final point of the set, 25-16, and a 2-1 set lead for Corsicana.

The Lady Lions would take control early of the fourth set, getting out to an 8-1 lead behind the serving of Lindsay Rankin and the offense of Danielle Schmidt.

Corsicana would battle back, eventually taking an 18-16 lead on a spike by Nayeli Lara.

After Ennis would score the next two points to tie the set once again, and Corsicana needing just seven points to win the match, probably the most pivotal point in the Lady Tigers season occurred.

A serve by Ennis would clip the net and painstakingly fall to the ground in-between two scrambling Lady Tiger defenders, giving Ennis the final lead change in the fourth set.  Ennis would then outscore the Lady Tigers, 6-2, to take the fourth set and force a deciding fifth set.

The fifth set would be all Ennis as the shorthanded, but senior-laden Lady Lions seized control early, getting out to a 7-2 lead.  Caitlin Green would serve the next seven consecutive points for Ennis, as the Lady Lions pushed the lead to 13-2.  After splitting the next two points, Ennis’s Emily Gilstrap served out the set, 15-3, and the match, 3-2, for the Lady Lions.

With the loss, Corsicana falls to 14-19 on the season and 1-6 in District 14-5A play while Ennis improves to 4-3 in district play.  After an open date this Friday, the Lady Tigers look to rebound at home and get back into the playoff chase next Tuesday against Red Oak.

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