In the middle of the Class 3A state volleyball semifinals against Abilene Wylie, Argyle setter Blair O’Brien looked into the bleachers housing the vocal Lady Eagles fan base.
Argyle trailed Wylie two sets to none and was on the brink of being eliminated by the unofficial favorites to win the state championship, and O’Brien looked into the stands as the Argyle fans began the “I believe that we will win” chant. You know, this chant.
(side note: now that it seems like every high school is mimicking this, the chant is slowly becoming less cool and more annoying. Anyways, back to the topic).
At the time, it seemed like unleashing a confident chant like that was a foolish thing to do. And it probably was. But it felt like from that point on, Argyle mounted a comeback that fell agonizingly short and made for one of the best volleyball matches anybody will ever see and the No.2 game of 2012.
On Nov.16, Wylie defeated Argyle 25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 17-25, 18-16 to advance to the state semifinals to advance to the state championship game and end Argyle’s first ever run to the state tournament.
Note the score of the last set. Wylie needed overtime to avoid a colossal collapse or a tremendous comeback, depending on how you look at it.
Wylie led 17-12 in the third and final set and was eight points away from sweeping Argyle. The brooms stayed in the closet.
Argyle rallied and won the third set, and then the fourth set and then almost the fifth set. The Lady Eagles had match point but couldn’t gain it. The Lady Bulldogs benefited from a questionable double-touch penalty that gave Wylie a brief 15-14 lead. But Argyle retied the game with the season on the line, so I don’t know if that penalty can solely be blamed for the loss.
Nobody could have asked for a better atmosphere that day. Wylie’s supporters made the trip from Abilene to support their team, while Argyle’s fans were loud and rowdy all match, growing louder and louder as Wylie’s lead wilted more and more.
It’s going to be hard to see another match with the same level of drama and excitement with so much on the line.
I couldn’t imagine the emotions running through both players and teams. You might find some Argyle fans who’d be able to cope easier with a straight-loss than losing at the bitter end.
After the game, the Wylie fans that had to endure all the “I believe that we will win” chants took a final and surely painful dig at the Eagles fans as they celebrated a Lady Bulldogs squad that beat La Grange the next day to win the state championship.
Wylie’s fans chanted “I believe that we just won,” and there more than a few unhappy Argyle supporters who endured the chant.
No matter who you were rooting for, everybody there that day at Garland’s Curtis Culwell Center will be hard-pressed to find a better volleyball match between two great teams.