in Volleyball

Clinching their first Class 3A volleyball playoff appearance since 2014, the Clifton Lady Cubs riding three-match win streak during stretch run

CLIFTON – Claiming their first playoff berth in eight years, the Class 3A Clifton Lady Cubs volleyball can start looking ahead to the postseason riding a three-match win streak after totally dominating the Waco Harmony Academy Lady Tigers, 25-2, 25-4, 25-11, for a District 17-3A victory Tuesday evening in the Clifton High Gymnasium.

“Waco Harmony was a great win for us,” Clifton volleyball head coach Paige Poth said. “The girls did a great job again focusing on minimizing errors and pushing through every play. It was an exciting night for us. Winning this game sealed us into the top four teams in the district and getting that playoff spot. I was very proud of their focus that game and overall proud of how they have done this season.”

Now, Clifton (7-5 in district, 20-15 overall) will wrap up the regular season with two more home games, hosting Riesel (2-10, 15-19) at 4:30 p.m. Friday before closing out the district schedule against 14th-ranked Troy (10-2, 26-5) next Tuesday. Class 3A’s sixth-ranked Lorana (12-0, 32-4) remains at the top of the district standings, while previously state-ranked West (10-2, 26-6) stands deadlocked with Troy for second.

After opening the stretch run last week with an important win over arch-rival Whitney, the Lady Cubs volleyball team left no doubt they’re deserving as they swept past the McGregor Lady Bulldogs, 25-17, 25-11, 25-12, for a convincing win last Friday to wrap up a week that saw back-to-back wins.

Junior Carley Caniford led the Lady Cubs with 15 kills, followed by senior Ava Anderson and sophomore Kate Humphreys with nine each. Senior Kamryn Zint contributed a team-high 12 digs and 12 service receptions, while sophomore Sydney Fullerton handled 33 assists.

“Friday was a fantastic win, and it was a great way to finish off the week,” Poth said. “We got out and competed. But most importantly, they focused on the team they are capable of being and played their best. I was very proud of how they handled the week. It was an important week, especially for us to ensure we secure our spot in the top four teams.”

In a battle for the fourth place playoff berth in district, the Lady Cubs swept past the four teams that stood in their way during the first round of district competition. And by knocking off Harmony (0-12, 0-19), McGregor (3-9, 5-20), Whitney (5-8, 9-18) for a second time, the Lady Cubs secured their first postseason appearance since 2014.

“With those three wins, we have secured that fourth place spot in the district,” Poth said. “But this week, we still have Riesel to take care of. We are working to ensure that we are taking care of what needs to get done as we head into the playoffs.”

Snapping a three-match losing streak while three of the best teams in the state perched at the top of District 17-3A, the Lady Cubs swept the Whitney Lady Wildcats in straight sets, 25-22, 25-15, 25-18, on the road last Tuesday.

Anderson led Clifton with 13 kills and 15 service receptions, followed by Carley Caniford with nine and Humphreys with five. Fullerton contributed a team-high 14 digs, 27 assists and two service aces, Zint came up with 13 digs and 14 service receptions, while senior Kasandra Gaona delivered a team-high three service aces.

“It was a hard fought game,” Poth said following the match. “This group has been very disciplined in executing a game plan. And the thing is; our girls don’t quit. They don’t give up on any play, on any ball, or any game. Friday night against McGregor, we have to go in with the same mentality and same energy as we did against Whitney.”

And that’s exactly what the Lady Cubs did.

“The opportunity was present,” Poth said. “In the first round, we proved that we can get the job done. The teams we played were tough, but we have proven that we are able to play with those state-ranked teams. It has taken all of us, but I had no doubt that the girls would get in and get the job done.”


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