The Odessa College volleyball team had opportunities to win the fourth and fifth sets against Midland College.
The Lady Chaparrals didn't allow either to happen.
Midland College rallied for a pair of 7-1 runs to close out the fourth and fifth sets en route to a victory over the Lady Wranglers 25-14, 12-25, 21-25, 26-24, 15-13 during a semifinal match at the NJCAA Region V Tournament Saturday at the OC Sports Center.
"It's very tough," Odessa College head coach Kristi Gray said. "When we needed four points to win and they needed eight to win in the fourth set, we should have finished.
"We've been talking about focusing all week long. We've done a great job of it. Midland just came out strong and we couldn't stop them."
Odessa College sophomore setter Halley McKnight, who ended with 27 assists, 22 digs and two aces, said it was tough to end the season letting two chances slip through the team's fingers.
"Honestly, we had one of our best games, but we just didn't finish," McKnight said. "We could have won in four, but we just didn't finish. We played hard and I wish we would have come out with a win."
The Lady Wranglers held a 23-19 lead over Midland College in the fourth set, but the Lady Chaps answered with five-point run to take a 24-23 advantage.
Odessa College tied the set, 24-24, after an attacking error from Midland College. The Lady Chaps scored the next two points on Odessa College errors.
In the fifth set, Odessa College freshman libero Catharina Bambirra supplied her sole kill of the contest to give the team a 12-8 lead. Midland College responded again with a five-point run to take a 13-12 advantage. Mariana Ferreira posted her 13th kill and the final point of the season for the Lady Wranglers to tie the set at 13.
Midland College scored the final two points, which included a game-winning block.
"It's frustrating," said Ferreira, who had 21 digs in addition to her team-high 13 kills. "We were winning for most of the set and then we don't win."
Midland College won the first set with ease as the team scored seven points off of Odessa College errors and posted four blocks.
Breann Schreiber knocked down the set-winning kill.
The Lady Wranglers responded in the second and third sets. Maria Da Silva and Bojana Bolozan posted the set-winning kills, respectively. Bolozan ended with 12 kills and 4.5 blocks, while Da Silva had eight kills, six digs and 2.5 blocks. Nevena Pejovic added 11 kills and 15 digs.
"After getting rolled in the first set, we made a couple of adjustments that I think worked well for us," Gray said. "I always tell them, 'It's not over until it's over. It doesn't what who won the first set or the second set. You have to play. It's the best three out of five for a reason.' We came out strong in the second, third and fourth, but we couldn't finish."
The Lady Chaps advanced the championship match against No. 18 New Mexico Military Institute. The Lady Broncos swept Midland College 25-22, 25-16, 25-22 to earn a spot in the NJCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament.
Article/photo by Royal McGregor and OA