Harlandale misses playoffs for 1st time in 15 years
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Harlandale, McCollum.
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McCollum’s perfect 2014 District 28-5A season had its roots in its 2013 finish.
“I think the key factor in all that started in the offseason,” McCollum coach Rose Ann Martinez said. “I could see they had such huge disappointment in the way they finished last year. The girls that returned this year weren’t ready for their season to be over.
“They started focusing right away on the things they needed to do to win more games this year.”
McCollum (24-9, 16-0), in winning the district, advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. The Cowboys made the unblemished 28-5A record official Oct. 28 at Harlandale (16-17, 8-8), with a 27-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-19 win over their host.
Martinez is unaware of any previous McCollum team that won its district title with an undefeated record. There is reason to think a precedent exists, given that the Cowboys won the Class 4A state championship in 1976.
“We had a certain calmness to us,” Martinez said. “I think that was because we focused on us, and not what we had to stop the other team from doing.”
The season ended with a bit of frustration for rival Harlandale. The Indians were eliminated from the postseason, ending a remarkable streak of 14 straight appearances, days before the match.
Despite the disappointment, the Indians seemed to make the season finale into its unofficial bi-district match.
“Because of the rivalry, neither of these teams wants to lose to the other,” Martinez said. “The records don’t matter. It’s a big rivalry because of the community.
“The crowd was so huge. That might have been the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen in that gym for a Harlandale-McCollum game. It was nice, because there was a lot of support on both sides.”
Senior Neyda Sanchez led McCollum with 12 kills. Catie Gonzalez had a team-best 35 digs. Setters Savannah Borjas and Alicia Garcia (2 aces) each distributed 16 assists. Senior Victoria Yzaguirre had a team highs five blocks and also served two aces.
Setter Alicia Garcia led Harlandale with 25 assists and nine digs. Kianna Sandoval had a solid match with 12 assists, seven digs and four kills. Dominique Delgado (23 digs), and Keana Ramos (12 digs) and Kassandra Munoz (11 digs) also were defensive leaders for the Indians.
Munoz also finished with eight kills and two blocks. Ramos added two aces. Valeria Stokes made six kills and notched six blocks for Harlandale. Madaline Mendez had a team-high 11 kills.
“They played really well and played hard,” Martinez said. “They kept it interesting. Any time they challenged us, I called time out and told them not to think about the other team, just worry about ourselves. That was what really got us through the season.”
McCollum was scheduled to play Floresville (26-16), which placed fourth in highly competitive District 27-5A, Nov. 4 in the bi-district round.
Southside swept McCollum 25-18, 25-19, 25-8 Oct. 31 in a warm-up match.
Sophomore Alyssa Gallardo led Southside with 18 assists, five digs and four aces. Mia Soto produced 14 kills and five aces. Ashley Sanchez supplied 12 digs, five kills and two aces.
Analee Uriegas finished with a team-high 18 digs and five assists. Klaryssa Vela added eight assists and five digs. Tyler Bolton drilled seven kills. Amanda Esparza made six digs.
McCollum statistics from the match were unavailable.
The Cowboys also were undefeated in district on the junior varsity level. Their freshman team lost only to Harlandale.