HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL: Permian clinches spot in playoffs in rivalry victory

The Permian volleyball team punched its ticket to the state playoffs with a 3-1 win over Odessa High Tuesday night at OHS Fieldhouse.

Permian won by scores of 28-26, 25-15, 27-29, 25-16.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” Permian head coach Gillian Herrera said. “It was great to get the first two sets but we knew it wasn’t going to be over that easily. We had to stay focused throughout the match and we personally have to get better and work on us and play a good game.”

Playing in the regular season finale, the Lady Panthers moved to 24-13 overall, 4-6 in District 2-6A play to finish fourth in the district standings.

The Lady Bronchos finished sixth in the standings and end the season at 14-15, 1-9.

“We knew coming in that Permian was going to be a tough team,” Odessa High head coach Cody Dominguez said. “We’ve been practicing and getting ready and getting ready to have this mentality of going out with a bang and making them earn every point that they got.”

Officially, the Lady Panthers clinched a spot in the playoffs before their game was even over as San Angelo Central (31-10, 7-3) swept fifth place Midland High (27-16, 2-8) in a contest that ended earlier in the evening.

Now, Herrera and her players can rest easy knowing that they won’t have to face a tiebreaker game against Midland High.

“There were a lot of ‘what ifs’ and for a while, our postseason was in our hands and then we kind of relinquished that a little bit,” Herrera said. “There’s no letup in this district.

San Angelo Central finished tied for second with Midland Legacy (27-15, 7-3). The Lady Rebels were swept by Wolfforth Frenship (33-9, 9-1) which won the district title, outright on Tuesday night.

Neither team conceded much in the first set as the two sides were evenly matched.

It took more than the first team to 25 points to win the opening set.

Permian took the first set 28-26.

Permian began the second set on a 5-0 run.

The Lady Panthers continued their strong start to the second set and took a 9-2 lead.

A block by Odessa High’s Gabriela Padron brought the Lady Bronchos to a five-point deficit.

The Lady Bronchos continued to trim at Permian’s lead, bringing the Lady Panthers’ advantage to 11-8 soon after.

The Lady Panthers found a way to answer back and it wasn’t long before they had a 19-9 lead.

It was at around then when reports started coming in that San Angelo Central had swept Midland High, officially clinching the Lady Panthers a spot in the playoffs.

Permian won the second set 25-15.

Permian began the third set on another strong note, taking a 5-0 lead to start things off.

After another Lady Panther point, the Lady Bronchos called a timeout.

Odessa High tried to come back at times but Permian had an answer to every Lady Broncho surge.

Permian soon made it 15-8.

Odessa High went on a 6-3 run to close the gap to four.

It was soon 18-16 and a timeout was called.

Odessa High tied it up at 20 soon after with new momentum.

The Lady Bronchos scored on the next play, taking the lead for the first time in the third set.

“You can’t allow any momentum shifts in this game,” Herrera said. “You have to serve and take care of the ball when it’s in your possession.”

Both teams went back and forth for the remainder of the set and it OHS who clinched it, 29-27, to continue the game.

“That third set, it was who wanted it more and thankfully we showed that we wanted it and took it,” Dominguez said.

Permian took an 8-4 lead in the fourth set.

The Lady Panthers built a 14-8 lead soon after.

Permian kept up its momentum and closed out the set, 25-16 and the match.

“I don’t like that we lost the third set but I liked that we were able to stay focus, recover and play good volleyball,” Herrera said.

The Lady Panthers’ opponent and time and date for their bidistrict playoff round are yet to be determined.

The opponent is likely to be either District 1-6A leaders El Paso Franklin or El Paso Coronado. Both teams were tied for first going into Tuesday’s regular season finals.

Despite finishing last in the district, Dominguez is proud of the progress his team made this season.

“Looking back, we’ve made a lot of progress and that’s all I can ask for as a coach,” Dominguez said. “The girls have been trusting the process of what we’re doing and taking it game-by-game. I’m proud of how the girls have performed.”