BY CLAIRE CRUZ |
RAYMONDVILLE — The Raymondville Lady Bearkats showcased their deep hitting arsenal to earn a District 32-4A sweep over Grulla 25-21, 25-23, 25-21 on Tuesday night.
The Lady Kats are now 5-0 in league play and feeling very confident as they continue to improve.
“We started like this last year, too, and we don’t want to fall off in the second half this season,” Raymondville head coach Norma Rodriguez said. “I want a district championship. It’s been a few years since we got one and I tell the girls every day ‘is that what you want’ to remind them and motivate them.”
The Lady Gators struggled defensively in the first set, and the poor passes caused Grulla’s hitters to send over free balls and tips too often. Raymondville’s high-octane offense took control down the stretch and though Grulla forced four set points, the Lady Kats clinched the opening round.
Raymondville’s senior setter Iscela Bazaldua dominated the second set. The Lady Kats’ co-captain gave her hitters textbook assists and recorded an abundance of powerful kills of her own. The Lady Gators looked overmatched for most of the set, but again they charged late and made it competitive before an error by setter Delani Galvan gave Raymondville the win.
“My momentum is just going,” Bazaldua said. “(When I’m setting) sometimes I’ll see one girl who’s on fire so I’ll just keep giving it to her, and I think that’s what happened today with me.”
Grulla played its best volleyball in set three as it tried to avoid a sweep. The Lady Gators were blocking, swinging hard and passing more effectively.
But the Lady Kats leaned on their solid serving and hitting to gain a lead and close out the match. Senior setter and co-captain Claudia Mesa was sick and couldn’t play much, but Bazaldua and junior Victoria Hernandez stepped up to keep Raymondville’s offense as potent as ever.
Despite the loss, Grulla head coach Janie Gomez is proud of the fight her team showed and thinks this match will help them in its upcoming games.
“Raymondville is a very tough team. They’re one of the strongest ones that we face in our district,” Gomez said. “I’m happy we were able to battle back. We’re coming along and hopefully we’ll be able to finish off our first round with wins and by the second round we’ll be ready for every single team.”