East Central falls to Steele, Canyon
PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE SOUTHSIDE REPORTER WEBSITE:
Maybe it’s best to be in a district with eight to 10 teams.
That’s a question the UIL might want to consider at some point. For the area’s District 28-6A representatives – East Central, South San and Southwest – being among the few teams not already engaged in district play appears to be exacting a toll.
Combined, the three teams posted a 2-4 record in their matches last week.
“This is the hard part of the season,” East Central coach Todd Dorgan said. “They start to get tired legs. I’m trying to find some (motivation techniques) to keep them playing with enthusiasm.”
The Hornets (12-14) lost both of their matches last week, falling 25-20, 26-24, 25-15 at Steele (15-16) Tuesday and 25-20, 19-25, 25-21, 25-22 to New Braunfels Canyon (15-16) Friday at East Central.
Playing without defensive wizard Brandi Campos, who had a minor injury, the Hornets took the early lead in the first two games at Steele.
Madison Simon put down a kill to end a long point and Lindsey Lubianski added another kill that staked East Central to an 11-8 lead in Game 1. The Hornets committed a serving error and a hitting error on consecutive points, enabling the Knights to seize a 15-14 advantage. Two straight kills from Jessica Stohlman (5 kills, 2.5 blocks) gave Steele separation.
The Hornets’ Alex Pena served an ace on game point, sparking a mini-rally. Junior Kaylin Mills recorded a block to make it 24-19, but the Knights’ standout hitter Jada Gardner finished the game with one of her 21 kills.
East Central capitalized on two Steele hitting errors and a crosscourt kill from freshman Skyeler Embry to build a 4-2 lead in Game 2. Senior Christie Cosper added a block and a kill on a slide play off a set from Mills to increase the lead to 8-3.
Steele quickly erased its deficit, but East Central rallied in response. Embry slammed a kill and Nichole West served an ace to give the Hornets a 14-13 lead. Mills set Embry for a kill and a Steele passing error re-established it at 17-16. After a three-point Knights run, however, the Hornets never led again in the match.
East Central tied it at 19-19, 20-20 and 23-23. Cosper appeared to tally a kill down the out-of-bounds line with Steele ahead 25-24, but it was ruled out and the Knights was a game away from victory.
“We’ve got to execute all phases together,” Dorgan said. “We’re struggling with consistency. Right now, we’re struggling with offense, more than anything else.”
Gardner carried the Knights in Game 3, crunching seven kills.
“I like playing Steele,” Dorgan said, “because I feel like they’re good competition for us. The girls always get up for them. For some reason, I think we’re closer to them than we are.”
Against Canyon, Campos returned to the lineup with 26 digs. Mills finished with 22 assists, 13 digs and two aces. West also served two aces and had 17 digs.
Embry led with 11 kills. Simon had 12 digs, two aces and seven kills.