LONGVIEW — Iola mounted an improbable comeback at Longview Lobo Coliseum Nov. 11, defeating Leon in three consecutive sets to advance to the UIL 2A State Volleyball Tournament.
The #1 Iola Lady Bulldogs (49-1) trailed the #2 Lady Cougars 0-2 (28-30, 20-25) in the 2A Region 3 Championship before the Lady Dawgs stormed back. Iola dominated the third set, 25-4, outlasted Leon in set four, 33-31, then closed out the win, 15-4, in the final set.
Iola swept Leon (43-3) on the season handing the Cougars their only losses on the season. Last season the roles were reversed with Leon defeating the Bulldogs in the Region 3 Championship.
State tournament play begins Wednesday, Nov. 15, for Iola. They will take on the Schulenburg Shorthorns (37-12) in the semifinal game set for a 5 p.m. first serve. The winner will face the winner of the Crawford Pirates (42-7) versus the Windthorst Trojans (44-5) in the 2A State Championship game, Friday, Nov. 17, at 3 p.m. Crawford and Windthorst play Nov. 15, at 3 p.m.
All state championship games will be at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. This is the 13th state tournament appearance for Iola who are making a bid for their fourth state championship. The Lady Bulldogs qualified for state in 1989, 1995, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020 and 2023. They won state championships in 2015, 2016 and 2020.
Iola’s roster consists of senior Lindsey Gooch, who was part of the 2020 state championship team, senior Abree Raley, juniors Sydney Nevill and Katara Larson, sophomores Ava Bessette, Kylan Thomas, Rylee Goodney, Shaylee McKown and freshman Cami Hoyle. The Lady Bulldogs are coached by Jamie Mc-Dougald, Holly Porter and Chrystal Thomas.
Iola advanced to the 2A Region 3 Championship game by sweeping the Overton Mustangs (25-10, 25-13, 25-13) Nov. 3.
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