ANNA – In the District 11-4A volleyball opener for both teams, Anna’s Lady Coyotes fell in five sets to Bonham on Friday, Sept. 22, at Anna High School. The Lady Coyotes fought back from one set down twice — and nearly rallied from a 9-0 deficit in Set 3 — but faded in the decisive fifth set, one the Lady Warriors took, 15-10.

Anna’s line in the first four sets showed 19-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-19.

“We had to hit the ball,” Bonham head volleyball coach Michelle Rodriguez said. “We finally came to hit the ball and our passes were on for the majority of the night. They just had it in their hearts that they needed and they wanted that win.” Rodriguez added that Bonham hadn’t won a district match since 2015. “So we’ll take it,” she said.

Anna head coach Tomika Crosby met with her team behind closed doors after the match. “It’s very disappointing,” she said. “It’s not what I expected. There were some positive moments where we would go on a run but then we’d go back to those hitting errors that just hurt us. There were too many of them. That will cost you the game, and that’s what happened.

“One thing I talked to them about is playing hard, never giving up on a ball. I think Bonham really just out-worked us on some rallies. We got caught out of position a couple of times. When they would tip the ball they would find the hole. I told them, ‘It’s not the end. It’s just the beginning, starting district.’ We can bounce back from this. We just have to fix those areas which we struggled in tonight: hitting, missed serves and being out of position.”

Senior Taylor Medrick and junior Hannah Howell led the Lady Coyotes with 14 kills each, while sophomore teammate Lexi Stewart posted 12 and sophomore Rachel Goade collected nine. Anna registered 58 kills overall. Of the Lady Coyotes’ 56 set-assists, sophomore Haley Thornburg had a team-high 30 while junior Bella Boyd tallied 21. Medrick popped up 19 of Anna’s 83 digs, with Howell and senior Julianne Curiel registering 13 and 10, respectively.

Throughout the match, senior outside hitter Bri Williams was Bonham’s dominant offensive weapon.

Early on, it was clear that the teams were evenly matched. Set 1 featured five ties on the way to 10-10 before Howell and Stewart put down two kills each to give Anna a 14-10 lead. The Lady Warriors rallied to knot things at 15-15 aided by three Lady Coyote errors, then three more ties occurred getting to 18-18. But after Medrick’s kill tied it there, Bonham pulled away with five straight points, the last off a service ace. Down 23-18, Anna picked up a final point off a Lady Warriors hitting error before two Bonham kills ended the set.

In Set 2, the Lady Coyotes led, 11-8, before Bonham made a push and the squads scrapped to the finish. In the set’s initial stages, back-to-back aces by Howell gave Anna a 7-5 advantage, and two Medrick tip-kills and a cross-court kill from junior Fekyra Wells produced the 11-8 mark. Down the stretch, the Lady Warriors held a 19-16 lead before two consecutive kills from Goade drew the Lady Coyotes close. Another Medrick kill knotted the score at 20-20 and big hit from Howell gave Anna the lead for good, 23-22. Stewart’s block closed out the Lady Coyotes’ victory.

After starting Set 3 in a 9-0 hole, Anna’s 17-16 run the rest of the way wasn’t enough. Highlights from the Lady Coyotes’ comeback included Howell’s five kills and an ace, three Goade kills, a kill from junior Lauren Schlicht and a Stewart block.

In Set 4, Bonham led early, 7-5, before two Medrick kills, one from Wells and a Boyd service ace helped Anna to a 10-10 tie. Stewart’s big cross-court kill and a kill by Cornelius aided the Lady Coyotes’ move to a 16-4 lead. From there, junior Lauren Morrison popped for a kill followed by a tip-over from Howell and Anna’s margin was 22-18. Cornelius’ service ace and another Howell kill brought the Lady Coyotes to the brink, at 24-19, before Medrick’s deep shot down the line ended the set in triumph for Anna.

In the deciding fifth set, Bonham broke from a 4-4 stalemate to lead 11-7 with the help of four Anna hitting errors and a service fault. Single kills from Medrick and Wells helped keep the Lady Coyotes close here. After another Medrick kill, the Lady Warriors moved to a 14-9 advantage. Wells’ block-kill would draw Anna to within 14-10 before a Bonham tip-over killer ended the match.