If you’re going to run a marathon, you might as well finish first.

The University volleyball team stretched itself to the limit, but held on for a marathon five-set win over Class 6A’s Belton, 26-24, 25-21, 22-25, 20-25, 16-14, on Tuesday night at the UHS Gym. It was the third straight win for University (17-12), which like most area teams will start district play on Friday.

It took everything the Lady Trojans had, too. Belton jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the decisive fifth set before University made its surge. The Lady Trojans pulled within 12-9 before Belton gained a side out and another point to go up 14-9.

But then University got a side out and Georgia State commit Alexis Parrish caught fire from the service line, ripping off six straight points to lift the Lady Trojans to victory. Parrish finished with 13 kills, seven blocks and three aces.

Kortlyn Henderson, who plans to play collegiately at Marquette, banged out 23 kills and eight digs for University. Callee Simmons adeptly directed the offense with 45 assists, and Sev’n Walker picked up 22 digs.

University will hit the road for its 18-5A opener on Friday, taking on Bryan Rudder.

Lorena 3, Waco High 0

At Lorena, the 19th-ranked Lady Leopards closed out their nondistrict schedule in style, sweeping the Lady Lions, 25-7, 25-14, 25-14.

Heidi Scarborough and Claire Conradt smacked six kills apiece to top Lorena’s attack, while Ashlyn Sorrells produced 29 assists at setter. Maddie Miller paced Lorena’s defensive effort with 29 kills, and also contributed five service aces.

Lorena (21-6) will open up District 17-4A play Friday against Robinson, while Waco High will tip off District 18-5A action against Bryan.

Gatesville 3, Harker Heights 1

In Gatesville, the always-dangerous Hornets stung the Class 6A Knights, 25-11, 25-17, 23-25, 25-18.

Madison Carpenter operated the offensive effectively with 31 assists and seven service aces. Kate Lovejoy tagged a team-high nine kills for Gatesville, and Corie Tunnell scooped up 20 digs.

Gatesville (21-6) will open up District 17-4A play at China Spring on Friday.

Crawford 3, Mexia 0

In Mexia, the 10th-ranked Lady Pirates garnered a nice road win over the LadyCats in their final tuneup for the district schedule. Crawford won three tight sets, 26-24, 25-23, 25-21.

Freshman Anne Williams popped a team-high nine kills and added 13 digs for Crawford (19-7). Morgan Claxton and Caitlin Plemons powered eight kills each, and junior setter Haley Vaughn delivered a double-double with 34 assists and 11 digs.

Crawford will meet No. 16 Kopperl, a fellow state qualifier from last year, on Friday in its district opener.

Midway 3, Pflugerville Hendrickson 0

In Pflugerville, the No. 1-ranked Pantherettes dusted Hendrickson for their 19th straight victory.

Midway (27-2) has been dominant in recent weeks, having lost just two of its last 44 sets.

The Pantherettes, ranked No. 2 nationally in MaxPrep’s rankings, will open up District 8-6A play at Killeen Shoemaker on Friday.

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