Bailey Birmingham

Prosper senior Bailey Birmingham, right, attempts to fire home a kill through two McKinney Boyd defenders in a previous District 5-6A match.

Coming off a big win against McKinney Boyd, Prosper volleyball looked to continue that momentum Tuesday night.

The Lady Eagles had to work through several unforced errors, but Prosper found its groove in the third set, and that gave them the energy needed to finish off a 3-0 win (25-14, 25-15, 25-11) over Little Elm.

“I didn’t see the Prosper that I wanted to see until the third set,” said Erin Kauffman, Prosper head coach. “I’m a little disappointed with the first two sets. That’s certainly not how a top-three team in the state plays. I think our girls got a little too comfortable. We’ll make sure we fix that because it’s only going to get harder from here.”  

Prosper’s depth on the front row was evident all night long. Setters Callie Kieffer and Jazzlyn Ford spread out the hitting attempts to seniors Bailey Birmingham, a Tulsa commit, Sami Jacobs, Nikki Steinheiser, 6-foot-4 middle blocker Taylor Youtsey, Kialah Jefferson, as well as junior Kendall Hewitt and sophomore Ella Chaney. Kieffer and Ford were at their best when they were fast with their sets.

But, for all the firepower that was on display for the Lady Eagles (9-1 overall, 7-0 District 5-6A), the Lady Lobos (2-7, 0-5), who were searching for their first win of the season in 5-6A, gave first-year coach Yolanda Beasley plenty to cheer about.

In the first set, senior Bailee Alexander fired home a kill to tie the score at 4-4, fellow senior April Egwu recorded a kill of her own to tie the score at 10-10, and a few points later, junior Emma Robinson swatted a kill from the 10-foot line to make the score 13-13.

In need of a spark, Jacobs served seven straight points for the Lady Eagles, including an ace, as Prosper, which missed three serves through the first 17 points, reversed course on their serving woes and closed out the first set on a 12-2 run.

“Sami did a nice job,” Kauffman said. “She struggled when she came around the first time. She had a service error. But, she did a good job the next time of putting some good serves together. I thought Bailey Birmingham did a nice job in the front row. Everything that she touched was a kill. Taylor Youtsey utilized her size and our setters did a good job of getting her the ball. In spurts, we stepped up when we had to.”

It was more of the same in set two.

Little Elm received two kills from sophomore Corey Hazlewood and another from fellow sophomore Shelby LeGros to take a 3-2 lead.

The Lady Lobos continued to match point for point with Prosper until late in the set.

The Lady Eagles got back to their hitting ways with Steinheiser and Chaney putting Little Elm at set point before Youtsey finished off the Lobos one point later with a kill of her own.

The third set was all Prosper.

Prosper committed far less unforced errors and it was a scoring onslaught by Birmingham that helped the Lady Eagles to quickly gain a double-digit lead. The Tulsa commit recorded four kills and a block within a six-point span — a flurry that gave Prosper a comfortable 8-2 lead.

“Bailey’s done a really nice job,” Kauffman said. “I remember her trying out in the seventh grade and here was an athletic, gangly girl that didn’t know much about volleyball. But, she could jump high and she is left-handed. I thought if this girl can commit to improving, she would be great. She’s really come into her own this year.”

Tuesday’s win was the ninth in a row for the Lady Eagles.

With McKinney Boyd (9-2, 5-1) only one game behind Prosper for first place in the league standings, Kauffman stressed how important it is for her Lady Eagles to not take their foot off the gas. The Lady Eagles and Lady Broncos will meet for the final time in the regular season Nov. 6 at Prosper.

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