Edison, Kennedy pull out tough district wins
TEAMS INCLUDED: Burbank, Edison, Harlandale, Highlands, Kennedy, Lanier, McCollum, Memorial, Young Women’s Leadership Academy.
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Harlandale (17-7, 3-0) increased its winning streak to seven matches with a 25-11, 25-17, 28-26 home victory over McCollum (6-17, 1-2).
“The girls came out very focused and with a lot of intensity,” Halandale coach Sylvia Cardenas said. “After two games, we kind of let our guards down a little and let them stay with us. There was a lot of back and forth in the third game.”
The victory put the Indians in a three-way tie for the District 29-4A lead. McCollum is tied for fourth with Uvalde (12-17, 1-2),which defeated the Cowboys Tuesday, and Kennedy (6-14, 1-2), which defeated its rival Memorial Friday.
“They’re coming together as a team,” Cardenas said. “It’s basically a senior group, so we have a lot of experience and leadership. They’re really stepping up and playing together.”
Harlandale’s height caused some problems for the Cowboys.
Senior standout Katie Neira, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter, led Harlandale with 12 kills and six digs. Erika Arredondo, Jackie Espinoza (2 blocks), Yolanda Garcia (3 blocks) and Melanie Mendez all added seven kills.
“We’ve been moving (the ball) around, and everyone’s been doing a good job with hitting,” Cardenas said. “We’re not just focusing on Katie. Our other girls have stepped up, so there’s no way teams can focus on just one girl.
“Jackie Espinoza, on the right side, had a really good match.”
For McCollum, senior Erin Stinnett recorded 12 kills. Stinnett thrived as Harlandale aimed its defense at controlling fellow outside hitter Neyda Sanchez.
“Some of their girls were hitting well, but we let our guards down,” Cardenas said. “I needed to get the emphasis back to playing with as much intensity as we had in the first two games.
“(Sanchez) is one of their big hitters. We were ready for her. We knew some of her tendencies. Their other hitter (Stinnett) did a really good job. They both did a good job.”
Harlandale senior Sierra Sandoval finished with 16 digs and Cera Cerda added 10, to go with four kills and two aces.
“Our libero, Sierra, did just an awesome job in the back,” Cardenas said.
Freshman Kianna Sandoval contributed 13 assists, seven digs and three aces. Catherine Silva led the Indians with 15 assists in Harlandale’s two-setter offense. Silva and Kelly Landin made five digs apiece.
Cardenas pointed out that when Sandoval, who returned recently from a hamstring pull, was injured, she turned to another setter Alicia Garcia, who kept Harlandale’s offense running smoothly.
Depth has been one of Harlandale’s best attributes, and it helped the Indians defeat McCollum. Cardenas said she just needed to remind her team of its responsibilities when the Cowboys threatened in the third game. “I called time out near the end,” she recalled, “and I stayed a little calm, because I knew we had to come together at the end. Last year, I could see that they would panic at the end.
“That’s the difference between last year and this year. This year, with the same group, they’re pretty much under control. They don’t lose focus.”
Savannah Borjas dealt 14 assists for the Cowboys. Jasmine Cordova led McCollum with nine digs. Danielle Saldivar served two aces.
The Indians share first in 29-4A with Floresville (16-13, 3-0) and Medina Valley (15-14, 3-0). Harlandale will play Medina Valley Friday in Castroville, after playing host to Memorial (9-17, 0-3) Tuesday.
Harlandale is expected to remain in contention through the end of the season.
“It’s going to be a big match,” Cardenas said, referring to facing Medina Valley. “It’s always a battle. Last year in district, they took us to five games both times. They’re pretty athletic and have a good team.”
Kennedy d. Memorial
The Rockets split the first two games with Memorial (9-17, 0-3) Friday at Edgewood Gym, but earned the victory by claiming the last two by identical 25-23 scores.
Kennedy won Game 1 in the 29-4A match 25-18. The Minutemen bounced back to snare the second game, 25-16.
Angel Huron led Kennedy with six kills and three digs. Taylor Martinez added a team-high six digs. Ashley Garza served three aces.
Memorial was led by 11 assists from Bridget Gomez and nine digs from Jatziry Duarte. Miranda Puente contributed four aces and three kills. Susan Vasquez had three blocks.
Edison d. Burbank
The Golden Bears (8-20, 4-2) outlasted improving Burbank (6-17, 1-5) to come away with a 25-19, 24-26, 25-21, 17-25, 15-12 win Friday at Edison in the District 28-4A contest.
Edison was led by a pair of seniors. Karen Guerrero unleashed 19 kills and Juanita Gomez covered the back row for 19 digs. Elizza Torres finished with three blocks. Joanna Benavidez recorded two aces.
The Bulldogs received 16 kills and six blocks from 5-9 senior Jenna Villanueva. Senior Alejandra Martinez chased down 25 digs. Leticia Gomez distributed 15 assists.
San Marcos d. Highlands
Highlands (12-18) fought hard to extend its four-match winning streak Friday, but eventually succumbed to a talented 21-8 San Marcos squad.
The Rattlers won the first two games decisively 25-15, 25-11 in San Marcos. The Owls clawed back into it with 25-23 and 25-20 decisions. In rally scoring during Game 5, San Marcos prevailed 15-4.
Jazmine Jackson put down eight kills and served four aces for Highlands. Jessica Alvarez recorded 18 digs. Analisa Garza finished with 16 assists.
Mikah Myers pounded 16 kills for the Rattlers.
Lanier d. YWLA
The Voks (6-16, 3-4) defeated Young Women’s Leadership Academy (2-23, 0-6) 26-24, 25-19, 25-14 Friday in a 28-4A match at Woodlawn Gym. No statistics were available for either team.