ROWLETT VOLLEYBALL ALIVIA CHEATHAM

Rowlett freshman Alivia Cheatham and the Eagles pulled away late in each of the three games to claim a 25-20, 25-19, 25-17 win over South Garland on Tuesday.

Rowlett knows its road to the playoffs is a tough one, with a closing slate that includes Sachse and Wylie in their final three matches.

But the Eagles also understand they can ill afford to get caught looking ahead, as anything can happen on a given night.

South Garland entered Tuesday out of the playoff race and without a 9-6A win.

But that did not mean the Titans were not there to play, and they were able to push Rowlett in the middle stages of each of the three sets.

In the end, though, the Eagles made the plays they needed to in order to claim a 25-20, 25-19, 25-17 sweep at Rowlett High School.

Rowlett improves to 4-6 in district and moves into a tie for fifth place with Lakeview, with both teams a game back of Naaman Forest, who stands at 5-5 after a win over North Garland on Tuesday.

The Titans sent a message from the start that it would not be easy, as Alexis Smith recorded a pair of kills and Rebecca Win added an ace to stake them to a quick 4-2 lead.

As expected, Rowlett responded, taking the lead on a kill by Aleydra Villarreal and her five-point service run, highlighted by a pair of aces, stretched the advantage to 14-7.

A block by Demi Glenn and a smash from Jenna Macatee made it 18-10, but the Titans refused to go away, as they took advantage of a few Eagle errors, coupled with a pair of blocks from Shanice Body, and it was suddenly a 20-19 game.

Rowlett got back on track with a point from Villarreal and an ace from Macatee and then got two kills from Alivia Cheatham and another from Glenn to pull away for a 25-20 win.

That momentum carried over into the second game as Meagan Anderson and Esbeidi Navarro each had a pair of aces and Glenn and Natalie Puente added kills as they jumped to a 7-3 lead.

The teams traded points through the middle portion of the set, with the Eagles maintaining a comfortable lead, but Keyla Vargas then stepped behind the service line and delivered a five-point run to close the gap to 15-14.

South Garland was still within 19-17 after a point from Nydia Jimenez, but the Eagles again closed strong, getting an ace from Reese Davison and a kill from Macatee to close out a 25-19 victory.

Rowlett came out for Game 3 looking to dispense of any potential drama.

Chyanne Bradford opened the game with a six-point service run that included an ace and two kills from Glenn and the lead swelled to 9-2.

But a familiar theme came back into play, as the Titans chipped away, getting a pair of points from Smith and an ace from Jocelyn Arellano as they sliced the deficit to 10-9.

Rowlett never lost the lead, but South Garland twice got back within a point on a block by Body and a kill by Arellano, the latter of which made it 16-15.

But the Eagles once again saved their best for last and Davison had three late aces and Saron Fanta had a block to win the game 25-17 and close out the sleep.

Rowlett next turns its attention to a road date at North Garland on Friday, a team they swept in the first round. There could potentially be a three-way tie for the fourth and final playoff berth by the end of the night, as Lakeview hosts South Garland and Naaman Forest faces a tough challenge against Wylie.

Around the district, Sachse was already playoff-bound and they remained perfect, improving to 10-0 with a 25-12, 25-15, 25-12 sweep of Lakeview on Tuesday.

Wylie (8-2) joined the Mustangs in the postseason field and also moved into sole possession of second place with a sweep of Garland (7-3) on Tuesday.

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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