Top 5 Games of 2013: No. 4 — Argyle vs. Decatur, volleyball

Decatur knocked out Katy Keenan and Argyle from the Class 3A volleyball playoffs in one of the best games of 2013. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

Today, we continue counting down the top five games of 2013. Argyle’s volleyball team makes the list for the second straight year after another amazing playoff match.

My ears were ringing all night from all the crowd noise that was relentless all night, much like the play of two of the state’s best volleyball teams. Let’s relieve one of the best matches you’ll see and one of the year’s top games.

Nov. 12, 2013
Decatur d. Argyle

When Decatur and Argyle’s volleyball teams met for the third time in 2013, there was a strong chance the winner of this match was destined for a trip to the state tournament.

Argyle won the previous two meetings and knocked Decatur out of the Class 3A state tournament. But Decatur exacted revenge with a thrilling 25-22, 18-25, 21-25, 25-19, 15-11 victory and knocked Argyle out of the playoffs in the 3A Region II quarterfinals, making it one of the top five games of 2013.

Last year, Argyle’s 3A state semifinal loss to Abilene Wylie earned a spot on the list and I don’t think any volleyball match will ever be as good as that one.

But this Decatur and Argyle match at Trophy Club Nelson was great because of the history between the teams, the caliber of the teams playing and the crowds both teams brought on that night.

Argyle was ranked No. 1 in 3A by the Texas Girls Coaches Association, while Decatur was at No. 4. Both sets of bleachers were crammed, and both schools had students hanging over the railing all night, with one student section screaming after each point.

Just imagine watching a basketball game where people go crazy after every basket. That’s the closest I can get to describing it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Argyle’s student section turning their fingers into guns and yelling “Bang Bang!” after each of junior Katy Keenan’s kills. Keenan has already committed to Texas Tech, and she had a team-high 20 kills on the night.

But Decatur’s Makayla Mayfield led the team to a win in the fourth set and for the entire fifth set, you could feel one team and its fans were going to be ecstatic, while the other side was going to be absolutely heartbroken.

“It was awesome,” Benedict said of the atmosphere. “You see this at a lot of the 4A and 5A levels. This was one of the best matches in regional quarterfinals that I think will ever exist in 3A volleyball.”

Caroline Lowery slammed home the game-winning point, and Decatur’s players piled onto Lowery. Decatur head coach Claire Benedict was grabbing her players off the pile as Argyle was waiting for Decatur’s players to go through the post-game handshake line.

After the match, I tried to interview Benedict but wave after wave of people surrounded her and congratulated her on the big win. On the flipside, I don’t think anybody envied what Argyle head coach Clark Oberle had to do in the losing locker room.

Turns out assumptions regarding the winner were correct. Decatur rolled to win the 3A state championship, its first volleyball title in school history.

Those two sets Decatur lost to Argyle were the only sets Decatur in seven playoff matches. That’s remarkable.

But unfortunately for Argyle, Decatur was also the only team to take a set from Oberle’s team and Decatur grabbed one more set than Argyle did.

Benedict said it best that night in November. You probably won’t ever see a better 3A regional quarterfinal volleyball game.

Previously:

No. 5 — Boys basketball: Guyer vs. Denton 

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