Knights, Providence play tiebreaker matches Tueday
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Holy Cross, Providence.
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Beating your archrival always is sweet, but Holy Cross’ win Saturday at Providence had an added dimension. The Knights’ victory clinched at least a share of their first TAPPS district title.
Holy Cross (34-13, 15-1) won three matches last week to lock in a share of the TAPPS 4-4A championship. Victoria St. Joseph (39-2, 15-1) defeated Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (7-9 in district) Monday to earn a co-championship and force a championship match 6:30 p.m.Tuesday at Holy Cross.
“It has been a long time,” Holy Cross coach Ruben Calderon said of the nine-year-old program’s first title. “But it’s just Step 1 in the process.”
The Knights are one of four area teams that have qualified for the playoffs. East Central (21-15), Highlands (24-10) and McCollum (21-8) also have qualified.
Providence (16-19, 7-9) downed Laredo St. Augustine (3-12 in district) 25-5, 25-21, 25-21 Monday to earn a share of fourth place. The Provets will play a 6 p.m. tiebreaking match at Cornerstone Christian (7-9).
Holy Cross defeated Providence 25-19, 25-21, 25-20. The Knights also swept TMI (11-4 in district) 25-23, 25-20, 26-24 last Thursday at the Panthers’ gym and Incarnate Word 25-20, 25-13, 25-8 last Tuesday at Holy Cross.
The Knights will take an 11-match winning streak into the postseason. Calderon is pleased that they avoided a letdown after tagging St. Joseph with its first district loss since 2012 on Sept. 30 in Victoria.
In fact, Holy Cross swept all of its district matches after losing to St. Joseph in their first meeting, Aug. 27 at the Knights’ gym.
“It was obvious one of the big (accomplishments) of the season to do that in Victoria,” Calderon said. “My immediate concern was to see how the reacted to that. We talked a lot about that. It was just one win, and we still needed to stay focused.
“They did a good job of moving on to the next challenge and responding to it.”
Victoria St. Joseph defeated the Provets 25-14, 25-19, 25-17 last Tuesday at Providence.
Against Holy Cross, Providence freshman Jazzmyne Williams had 10 kills and three aces for Providence. Senior Mital Patel led Provets with 13 digs. Mia Ybarra dealt 14 assists..
“They have a couple of young kids that are going to be good in the years to come,” Calderon said. “Providence was playing for a playoff spot. They were very aggressive and had everything to gain and nothing to lose. Our kids were playing for pride.
“It was a good test for our preparation. I liked the poise we showed. We’re finding ways to finish a set. We’re not pushing the panic button. We’re keeping our unforced errors down, playing smart and being aggressive when we need to.”
Holy Cross sophomore Henrianna Ibarra produced 21 kills, 19 digs, three blocks and two aces in the match. Victoria Gonzalez contributed 12 digs and 11 kills. Anna Zuniga added nine assists, six digs and four kills.
Knights setters Kimberly Butcher and Autumn Lopez chipped in 14 and 11 assists, respectively. They supplied nine digs apiece. Daisy Flores had 12 digs.
“We were able to get everybody in and get them some playing time,” Calderon said. “If we win Tuesday, we’ll be off for a week, so it was important for timing.”
If there is a championship match on Tuesday, as expected, the winner will get a bye through the TAPPS tournament bi-district round to the area round. The loser will play a bi-district match later in the week.
“We went through the tough non-district matches and developed confidence,” Calderon said. “Beating St. Joseph was a big boost, but we understand it’ll be a different situation Tuesday. They’ve been on top a number of years and they’ve been to the state semifinals the last two years.
“This is going to be a great match. We’ll have to stay focused throughout the entire match.”