Stunning comeback: Lady Panthers outlast Highland Park in 5 sets

Mirror report

DALLAS — For the second year in a row, the Midlothian High School volleyball team has advanced to the Class 5A Region II semifinals.

Sophomore Kenna Buchanan led the way with 15 kills and 18 digs as the Class 5A No. 6-ranked Lady Panthers pulled off an incredibly gritty five-set victory over Highland Park, rallying from two sets down for a 17-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-11 win on Friday afternoon in a Region II quarterfinal match at Ellis Davis Field House.

The Lady Panthers (22-3) avenged last year’s sweep in the Region II semifinals against the Lady Scots.

Senior setter Aryn Walton finished with 44 assists and 17 digs and junior Killian Armstrong added 10 kills and seven blocks for the Lady Panthers. Sophomore Lauren Safrit had seven kills, six blocks and 12 digs; Jenna McMichael recorded 18 digs to tie Buchanan for team honors; and Karsyn Curry had 15 digs.

MHS made only nine receiving errors on a total of 95 serve receptions.

The Lady Panthers (22-3) were scheduled to take on 5A No. 1-ranked and seven-time state champion Lucas Lovejoy on Tuesday night back at Ellis Davis Field House. Lovejoy (22-0) dropped a set for only the second time this season during Friday’s region quarterfinal match against Frisco Reedy, but the Lady Leopards prevailed, 25-18, 25-27, 25-20, 25-15.

Last Tuesday, the Lady Panthers stayed on a winning track in the playoffs with an area-round sweep of Lufkin on the parquet floor of Lindale High School’s gymnasium, 25-20, 25-9, 25-17.

Buchanan amassed 19 kills and 10 digs to lead MHS once again. Safrit added eight kills, 15 digs and two blocks, and Kennedy King finished with six kills and three aces. Walton added 39 assists, 13 digs and three aces; McMichael had a team-high 17 digs; and Curry had 12 digs and three aces.

The Lady Panthers won their bi-district playoff opener on Nov. 20 as they beat Forney 25-11, 24-26, 25-14, 25-14.