Lady Cards open league play with dominating win over Lady Hawks

HARLINGEN — With the Harlingen High gym filled with red, orange and green, it could only mean one thing: The Bird Bowl.

The Harlingen Lady Cardinals opened up District 32-6A volleyball action with a bang Saturday by sweeping the crosstown rival Harlingen South Lady Hawks in three sets, 25-20, 25-16, 25-23.

“It was intense and emotional in the beginning, but they were all good feelings,” said Harlingen coach Joslynn Torres. “At the end of the day we wanted to get the win and we did that. The big thing for us today was emotions. We couldn’t play with our emotions, but with our fundamentals.”

Harlingen will host Brownsville Rivera on Tuesday while Harlingen South will head to Los Fresnos to meet the Lady Falcons.

Harlingen took advantage of South’s slow start and jumped out to an 8-1 lead. Yazmine Martinez led the offense with 10 kills and nine digs. The Lady Cards continued to put pressure on South and extended their lead to 22-14. Kristen Kattan paced the attack with eight kills.

“We came in confident but we’re very fortunate that South came out a little nervous because we came out flat in the first set,” Torres said. “In the third set South gained some confidence and it was a tough third set. I told the girls that they’re (South) a good team and they’re going to come back and keep fighting.”

The home crowd went into a frenzy after the Lady Cards took the second set 25-16. Alina Prado fed the hitters with a team-high 20 assists and Julissa Munivez finished with 12 digs.

Harlingen South battled back in the third set and didn’t make it easy on Harlingen High. The seesaw battle swung in the Lady Hawks’ favor when they took a 21-19 lead. Harlingen rallied, though, and went on a 6-2 run sealing the sweep.

“It’s great to get our first district win especially against our crosstown rival,” Torres said. “I told the girls that while we won our first district game, today wasn’t our best performance. They need to understand that we can’t be satisfied. We have a lot of work to do and we can’t afford to play like this every week. That won’t work for us.”