Randall comes up short in heartbreaking state volleyball championship

Randall was looking to become the second straight Class 4A school to repeat as Texas high school volleyball state champions.

That didn’t happen as Comal Davenport — a school that opened in 2020 — secured the first state championship in the sport with a 3-2 win over Randall on Saturday at Curtis Culwell Center.

After Decatur won Class 4A titles in 2020 and 2021, Randall was looking to follow with crowns in 2022 and 2023.

The Raiders (43-5) jumped ahead by winning the first two sets, but Davenport (47-5) won the last three, including 17-15 in the fifth set.

Up 14-12 and a point away from winning, Davenport had to wait as the defending state champs surged back and took a 15-14 lead.

Talan Dodson — the tournament MVP — tied the match at 15 on a kill. Riley Neese had a save before Ashton Dodson had a kill to end it at 17-15.

The Raiders won the first two sets, 25-22 before the Wolves stayed alive with a 25-22 win in the third set. Davenport won 25-21 to force a first-to-15-points scenario.

The storyline for Randall was finding a way to always battle back from ties or deficits.

In the first set, the Raiders (44-4) broke a 17-17 tie.

In the second set, Davenport (46-6) led 21-18 before Randall scored five points in a row. A bump kill by Sidney Soria gave the Raiders the win. Soria had 42 assists and 21 digs in the contest.

Davenport built an 18-8 lead in the third set and then had to hold off a late charge by Randall, which pulled within 24-22.

In the fourth set, the Wolves broke a 10-tie by scoring five of the next seven points. Randall cut a six-point deficit down to two (22-20) but Ashtan Dodson had two kills to help ice the win and the win-or-go-home final set.

“Great match; ultimately didn’t go the way we wanted it to that is how it goes sometimes,” Randall coach Haleigh Burns said. “I think it is hard to get to the state tournament and to do it with these kids is a true testament of heart and grit. Hats off to Davenport; they played hard and battled and we were caught watching at some times. I’m not going to act like it's fine and dandy, I’ll try to be politically correct as I can, but it sucks. It sucks for my seniors and my kids who have worked really hard.”

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