For Western senior Erica Dailey, yesterday's 3-0 volleyball victory over visiting City seemed like no other she had experienced in her four varsity seasons.
For the first time, Dailey heard athletic director Eva Scott say, from Girls volleyball
behind a podium microphone, "Welcome to the quarterfinal round of the [4A] Region II volleyball tournament.
"The winner of this game [between second seed Western and third seed City]," Scott said, "plays the winner of tonight's game between [fourth seed] Poly and [top seed] Perry Hall."
Dailey and the rest of the two-time defending City-Wide champion Doves (14-1) sensed they were on the verge of making history with Western's first win in its inaugural venture into the 4A state playoffs.
"You could just feel the intensity building up in our team," said Dailey, 5 feet 2, who was a team-leading 14-for-15 spiking with five kills in yesterday's 15-7, 15-5, 15-12 win.
"No one on our team was goofing off during warm-ups: This was business."
And the Doves, who split regular- season games with City (11-4), quickly went to work pressuring the Knights into making 18 unforced errors.
"We were trying to use a different defense, a different setter, because Lucy [Muse] just hasn't had it lately," said coach Jessica Ivy, whose Knights had leads of 4-0, 6-1 and 10-5 in the third game. "It didn't work."
Western's Nayeli Garcia was 16-for-16 with two aces.
"They rely on me to keep the ball in," said Garcia. "I don't know if it's pressure for the other team, because I'm not on the receiving end."
Neither were the Knights.
They trailed 8-4 in the first game before mishandling three serves by junior Ayanna Jenkins. It was 12-4 after a kill by Western's 5-10 hitter Shenik Lisbon. An ace by Garcia made it 13-5, and an ace by Kim Osborne ended the game.