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Enthusiasm brimmed out of the Lake Travis volleyball team as it took the court in the bi-district match against No. 23 Round Rock Tuesday, and the Lady Cavaliers soaked in the first-round win.

Taking things down to the nitty-gritty, Lake Travis edged the Lady Dragons on the narrowest of margins, winning the decisive Game 5 by just two points, 16-14, at Vista Ridge High School.

Junior Alexis Bell smacked down the deciding kill for the final point for the 25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 18-25, 16-14 victory.

“We had done a really good job of knowing what we needed to do to win,” Lake Travis volleyball coach Jennifer Kazmierski said. “We prepared really hard the last two and a half days to do those things. I was more impressed with our intensity – I think that was a factor that allowed us to take control. Even when they scored it wasn’t really affecting us they got right back in.”

Now Lake Travis will face No. 4 The Woodlands in the area round 6 p.m. Friday at Brenham High School.

The Lady Cavs’ defensive determination was apparent as the team swarmed the net and put pressure on the Lady Dragons from the outset. Olivia Thorpe led the charge with seven blocks, five digs and 11 kills, while Kaitland Currier added 15 assists and 12 digs.

“That’s the best feeling; that’s my favorite thing – to block people,” Thorpe said. “I love it. There’s just something about it.”

Amanda Wolken was active – as was the entire team – with three kills, two blocks, two digs and a team-high five aces.

Corey Cable scurried all over the Lake Travis side of the net and wound up with 27 assists and four digs.

Melodi Ramirez led the team with 11 kills while Claire McCown tallied nine kills, three blocks and four digs.

Marisa Ochoa pitched in eight kills, Haley Mahlum had nine digs and Sydney Lineberry had six digs.

“We knew they were a great team and we had to do all do our job and all be on the same page,” Ochoa said. “Our saying is, ‘one heartbeat, one mind.’ I feel like that that’s how we came out and all clicked together.”

Round Rock (32-8, 9-3 District 16-5A) coach Diane Watson said the Lady Cavs took her team out of its element and frustrated the Lady Dragons out of their usual rhythm.

“The girls were ready. Every girl knew exactly what they needed to do to get it done – add in a little bit of fight, that makes it so much better,” Kazmierski said. “The way we attacked serving really impressed me. We knew if we got them out of their system we definitely had a better shot, so we worked really hard at attacking them serving.”

After winning the first game with relative ease, Lake Travis (22-19, 9-3 District 15-5A) led 19-15 in Game 2 before Round Rock reeled off 10 of the next 12 points to tie the match at 1-1.

The Lady Cavs rebounded to take Game 3 with more solid net play as Thorpe and Ramirez led the way.

“We worked on that a lot and it really helped,” Thorpe said. “We keep saying we’re going to be like warriors. We had nothing to lose and we left it all out there.”

Lake Travis couldn’t hold off the skilled Lady Dragons. The Lady Cavs grabbed a 15-14 lead in the next game but Round Rock outscored them 11-3 to close out the win.

In the decisive Game 5, the teams jockeyed back and forth after Lake Travis grabbed an early 4-1 edge. The Lady Cavs kept it going to take a 10-7 lead, but three straight points put the game at 10-10.

After a timeout by Lake Travis the Lady Cavs took the lead back 11-10 but Round Rock came back to go up 12-11 in the first-to-15 game. Another timeout by Lake Travis led to a kill from Ramirez and an ace from Wolken for a 13-12 edge, leading to a Round Rock timeout.

The game nearly was tied once again on what looked to be a sure-fire kill from Jeanine Hightower but somehow Wolken got down to the floor just before the ball dropped and dug it out and into eventual open space for a 14-12 Lake Travis lead.

“We all stuck together, even if we did mess up or struggled we snapped back out of it and went again, no matter what,” Ochoa said.

Round Rock wasn’t through though; scoring on a Lake Travis misplay and a Lauren Taft kill, but Bell’s strike ended the match with the Lady Cavaliers moving on.

“There were a few times later in the match we stumbled a little bit but they did a great job believing in the training they put in,” Kazmierski said. “There’s nothing like hard work preparing you to give you the confidence to come in and play like that.”

The Lady Cavs were unsure of their next round opponent until later after the match. Lake Travis will face The Woodlands, which beat Klein 25-17, 25-18, 25-13.

“Whoever it is we’re going to take care of our side of the net and get stuff done,” Thorpe said.

Ochoa added, “They’re a great team, we’re up for the challenge and are going to fight our hardest.”

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