GARLAND — An old nemesis kept the Blum volleyball team from winning its first state title.
The Neches Lady Tigers claimed a straight-set 25-20, 25-19, 25-12 victory over Blum for the Class 1A state championship on Saturday at the Culwell Center.
That marks the second straight season that Neches stood between the Lady Cats and a state title. The Lady Tigers eliminated Blum from the state tournament in the semifinals in 2019.
Blum (30-6) made it to the state final match for the second time in program history, but like in 2017 fell one match short.
The Lady Cats pushed ahead to an 18-14 lead in the second game, but that’s when Neches came on strong.
State championship match MVP Lexi Rogers had a dink, a kill and a block in quick succession as the Lady Tigers began to rally.
Rogers finished with 15 kills, 10 digs and a pair of assists.
Neches’ Nayeli Quistian served for eight consecutive points as the Lady Tigers went from a three-point deficit to a commanding 23-18 advantage.
That swung all the momentum to the Lady Tigers side. After they closed out a 25-19 win in the second game, they dominated the deciding set.
Neches’ Kacie Kimbrough had three kills and Rogers added another one during a crucial 10-2 run as the Lady Tigers established a 17-9 lead.