Lionettes claw their way to victory over Lady Red Ants

BY CLAIRE CRUZ |

LA FERIA — The District 32-4A matchup between Progreso and La Feria on Tuesday night was a full-out marathon. It took five sets filled with long rallies for the Lionettes to earn a victory over the Lady Red Ants 25-20, 28-30, 23-25, 25-11, 15-8.

“(My girls) didn’t hang their heads, they didn’t check it in but they could’ve easily done that,” La Feria head coach Rebea Fraga said. “Kudos to Progreso, it seemed like defensively anything that went their way they picked up. We had a hard time putting the ball down against them.”

Sophomore middle blocker Nicole Treviño and senior setter Vivian Zuniga were the two forces leading Progreso’s scrappy defense. Treviño recorded nine blocks in the match and Zuniga was all over the floor, diving to make rally-saving plays and getting under hard hits and serves.

“I tell (my team), ‘when you go on the court, you play with pride and leave everything on the court,’” Progreso head coach Jackie Gonzalez said. “Nicole played an outstanding game. Every game she’s one of our main defensive people. (Vivian) runs the offense so we depend on her a lot, and she’s all over the court.”

After a fairly typical opening set, things got exciting in set two. Hustle plays from both teams led to several ties and lead changes before La Feria took a slight advantage. But two huge blocks from Treviño on consecutive set points ignited the Lady Red Ants, and eventually she put the set away with a well-placed tip kill.

The Lionettes seemed rattled after the lengthy battle and communication errors forced them to send tips and free passes over the net instead of hits, and Progreso capitalized with another close set win.

“We definitely weren’t playing out best at that moment, but we just needed to keep battling through it,” Fraga said.

La Feria’s hitters kept swinging hard and wore down the Lady Red Ants defense. As the Lionettes gained momentum, Progreso began to struggle defensively and La Feria earned a dominant set four win.

The loss seemed to take the wind out of Progreso’s sails, and the Lionettes cruised in the fifth set to clinch the match.

“We’re not a very experienced team, so when it comes to tough matches like this, that’s where we struggle,” Gonzalez said. “Every match that we’ve played has gone to four or five sets. These girls played their heart out and I couldn’t ask for more. This is one of the best games we’ve played the entire season, but the loss still hurts.”