GULF SHORES, Ala. — LSU sophomore Kahlee York hadn't played a game in the NCAA tournament in her two years as Tiger.
She cheered on the Tigers during her freshman season and did the same for most of this year's trip to Gulf Shores.
But then freshman Allison Coens got sick and York was called to step in on LSU's Court 5 and help her team. She rose to the occasion and fit seamlessly into the LSU lineup.
"Kahlee York was a player that started the beginning of the year and kept proving herself over and over," LSU coach Russell Brock said. "There's a lot of confidence in her ability to play the game. She took advantage of her opportunities to continue to build her game.
"Every time she came in, we talked about it afterwards, and she would respond to the feedback that she got. She kept growing, even down the stretch at the end. That's what gave us the confidence to say, 'Hey, we need you. You go in and get that win for us.' She and Hunter obviously did a great job and pulled out a win at the fives."
Though LSU lost the semifinal game 3-2 to USC on Sunday, the Tigers' Court 5 duo of York and Hunter Domanski came out and battled to a win.
"With the environment being the way it was and everyone supporting us, we just knew that we could get the job done if we worked together and worked as a team," Domanski said.
After a 17-21 set one loss, the duo of York and Domanski bounced back to win the following two sets 21-13 and 15-9 and take the match.
Both York and Domanski admitted that it took them a bit to get situated before they started to feel comfortable playing together.
"We were figuring some stuff out in the first set and we were just a lot smoother in the second set and were able to play fluidly," York said.
York said that she wasn't too worried when she found out she would be playing Sunday morning. She took it all in stride, despite the large stage of the event.
"[My mindset] was just to stay calm and in my game," York said. "I just enjoy being out here and playing this sport. My team showed me so much love and support in the morning and [Hunter] backed me up the entire time on the court, and that helped a lot."