Crawford Rapoport (copy)

Crawford stands only two wins away from a return trip to the UIL state tournament.

If you’re a high school volleyball team still playing on the second weekend of November, you understand what it takes to win a match. The six Central Texas teams still alive, for instance, have combined for 167 wins this year.

Each of those teams also knows that the next two wins will come a lot tougher.

Those six area squads stand just two wins away from reaching next week’s UIL state tournament, as regional tourney action gets cranking on Friday. They’re all playing well, but the competition for a state berth will be fierce.

Here’s a glance at this super-sweet six-pack:

China Spring

The Lady Cougars finished third in District 18-4A, but they’re the last remaining team in that league standing. After losing two meetings with Robinson during the district season, China Spring (28-17) won round three – the most important meeting – in the regional quarterfinals earlier this week.

“Really, my team has just been a different team the last couple of weeks,” China Spring coach Melissa Cole said after that win. “We hit our peak at the right time.”

Libero Chloe Mayfield has fueled a rock-solid Lady Cougar defense in recent action. It’ll need to be impenetrable again this weekend if China Spring wants to add more time to its Cinderella season. The Lady Cougars will play Livingston at 6 p.m. Friday in Bryan. If they win that match, they’ll play for the Region III-4A title against either Midlothian Heritage or 41-1 Hargrave at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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China Spring’s Jenna Kuligowski slaps a spike past Robinson’s Taylen Wallis in the Lady Cougars’ regional quarterfinal win.

Troy

It’s been a historic year for the Trojanettes (29-10), who clinched what head coach Rachel Melancon believed was the first regional tourney berth in school history with a four-set win over West earlier this week.

“I have four seniors who don’t want it to end, and I don’t want it to end,” Melancon, a Troy alum, told the Temple Daily Telegram.

It was a junior, however, who had the most productive hitting game for Troy last time out, as Alexis Tippitt blasted a match-best 24 kills in the win over West.

Troy will face sixth-ranked Nacogdoches Central Heights in Friday’s regional semifinals in Longview. If the Trojanettes win, they’ll play either Maypearl or East Bernard at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Moody

Canyon Hughes delivered one of the most powerful performances of the postseason when the senior crushed 27 kills in Moody’s regional quarterfinal in over Wortham earlier this week.

Hughes has proven a handful for teams all year, but Moody can smack teams from a variety of angles. Her senior teammates Liz Perkins, Jaylah Good and Allison Lantz have turned in tremendous seasons as well.

Moody will take on Lindsay in the Region II-2A semis at 5 p.m. Friday in Weatherford. A victory would vault the Lady Bearcats on to the regional final against the Crawford-Windthorst winner at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Crawford

Jeff Coker’s Lady Pirates understand exactly what is required to not only reach a state tournament, but win it all. They’ve been as efficient as ever this postseason, as they didn’t drop a set in wins over Mart or Bremond.

Crawford (40-5) has loads of experience back from that state title team, with the likes of Peyton Elmore, Maci Westerfeld, Anne Williams and Ana Maddox, among others. But the Lady Pirates have also adeptly weaved freshmen like setter Lexi Moody and outside hitter Katie Warden into the lineup.

Crawford will take on a Windthorst team that Coker called “very good” in Friday’s regional semis, immediately following the Moody-Lindsay match.

Abbott

Abbott won state in volleyball in 1978 and ’79, could this year’s Lady Panthers add the program’s third title four decades later?

They’re certainly playing well enough to do so. Abbott had a first-round playoff bye, but hasn’t dropped a set in wins over Penelope and Calvert since.

They’ll take on sixth-ranked Bryson at 1 p.m. Friday in Midlothian, while a victory would set up a matchup with the Blum-Saint Jo winner at noon Saturday.

Blum

Like Crawford, Blum reached the state tournament last year. Unlike Crawford, the Lady Bobcats (32-14) didn’t close off their season with a victory, so they’ve been on a mission to get back.

Blum has overcome the graduation of last year’s top hitter Gentrye Munden mostly on the strength of its defense. The Lady Bobcats average 9.5 digs per set, led by junior Emma Rodriguez (313 digs) and senior Mattie Rosenbloom (256).

The Blum-Saint Jo match is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday in Midlothian, following the Abbott-Bryson semifinal.

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