CUERO -- Alyssa Strauss started it and finished it for the Shiner Lady Comanches on Tuesday.
Strauss used a strong service run to open the match to give Shiner the momentum and then finished it off with a strong cross-court kill as the Lady Comanches downed the Louise Lady Hornets 25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19 in a Class 1A regional quarterfinal contest.
Shiner (26-10) advances to the regional semifinals and will face the Harper-DíHanis winner on Friday at Brenham High School. Louise ends its season at 26-14.
Strauss helped the Lady Comanches jump out to a 6-0 lead in the opening game with the help of a pair of blocks and a kill from Shelby Bernshausen. Louise fought hard but was unable to overcome the deficit even after pulling back to within 23-20 behind a kill from Amber Bain and an ace by Kirsten Machicek.
But a kill by Strauss and an unforced Louise error was all the Lady Comanches needed to finish off the first game.
"A lot of stuff has happened to us already this week with leadership and band," Shiner coach Michelle Winkenwerder said. "This is the first time for us to be together as a team so it was nice to jump out early."
Louise grabbed a 3-0 lead in Game 2, but again it was Strauss with a kill that stopped a short Louise run that included two aces from Sarah Williamson. Strauss then served up a 7-0 run that included four aces along with kills from Iesha Flowers and Amber Stratman for a 19-11 lead.
Louise could only cut the lead back to five before two more unforced errors by the Lady Hornets gave the Lady Comanches a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five match.
Louise would not quit, however and took its biggest lead of the night at 11-6 in Game 3 behind a 7-0 service run from Bain.
As Shiner battled back, the Lady Hornets have an opportunity to end it behind the serving of Machicek. With a pair of kills from Williamson, who finished with 16, the Louise went up 24-20. But three straight unforced errors by the Lady Hornets pulled the Lady Comanches to within one, before a net violation by Shiner gave Louise Game 3.
"You're never satisfied with losing but Iím as close to satisfied as I can be with our performance," Louise coach Bryan Branch said. "I was real proud of the way they played. The first game might have been might fault because we tried to change some things and the playoffs are not the time to do that."
Louise tried to use the momentum from Game 3 and took a 5-1 lead in Game 4.
Shiner fought back to tie the game at 11 on a kill by Flowers and Strauss fired in two aces and got a kill from Bernshausen for a 16-11 advantage.
The Lady Comanches never trailed from that point and finished it off with an ace by Amber Shimek and a kill from Strauss.
Paul Ebner is the assistant sports editor for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6507 or by e-mail at email@example.com.