AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Highlands, Jefferson.
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Jefferson was scrapping for every point and threatening to extend the District 28-5A match when Highlands senior Bryten Mitchan made her presence felt.
Mitchan (10 kills) registered kills on three of four points, putting third-place Highlands (16-8, 6-2) at match point against Jefferson (6-13, 2-6). The Owls were able to polish off a 25-22, 25-13, 25-21 win Sept. 22 at the Alamo Convocation Center over the rapidly improving Mustangs.
“We pick up each other, and they need me to pick us up,” the outside hitter said. “Jazlyn (Lozoya) realized I was on fire, so she was setting me a lot. She’s a good setter and she knows who to set at what time.”
Highlands shared third with Harlandale (18-8, 6-2) after ending the week with a 25-11, 25-10, 25-18 decistion over Brackenridge (7-24, 1-7) Sept. 25 at the ACC. Harlandale also won two matches, including a 25-18, 13-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-10 upset of co-district leader McCollum (18-9, 7-1).
“I’m kind of disappointed with where we stand,” Mitchan said. “But we’ll fight through it and get all the rest of the wins.”
The Mustangs nearly pulled off a stunner Sept. 25 against the other co-leader
Edison (16-17, 7-1). After illnesses forced Jefferson to make lineup adjustments against Highlands, the additional match helped it settle into the new roles. The Golden Bears escaped with a 26-28, 25-20, 20-25, 25-22, 15-5 win at the ACC.
“They played much better,” Jefferson coach Kristi O’Leary said. “I think playing your rival always brings out the best in everybody. In that first set, we were playing really well.”
Jefferson led Highlands 20-16 on an ace from Marisol Montejano (7 blocks) in Game 3 after senior Angela Hardcastle (7 kills) rallied the Mustangs.
“We had some girls who were playing ill and some who were just out,” O’Leary said. “Angela’s a great leader. She’s a smart player and she’s so strong.”
Mitchan’s first kill in the final run tied it 20-20. A block from Jenelle Rodriguez put the Owls in the lead and Mitchan delivered back-to-back kills ahead of another Rodriguez block.
“It’s from being a senior and a leader,” Highlands coach Desiree Lara said of Mitchan. “When Jazlyn gets that pass, she needs to set whoever’s on fire. I’ve watched her grow up as a setter.”
MORE TO COME