Lady Cards put forth solid effort but still fall to Lady Falcons 3-1

LOS FRESNOS — With the first half of district nearing, the race for the 32-6A title is beginning to take shape.

While there is plenty of time left in the season, the Los Fresnos Lady Falcons made a statement Saturday afternoon by defeating Harlingen 25-8, 25-20, 25-19, 25-20 on their home floor.

With the win, Los Fresnos (5-0) remains perfect in league play and will now shift its focus to Brownsville Rivera, which also won Saturday and is 5-0 as well. The two will meet Tuesday at Rivera.

Meanwhile, Harlingen (3-2) will host Brownsville Hanna (2-3) on Tuesday.

After a dominating first set by Los Fresnos, Harlingen settled down and answered back throughout the match. Midway through the second game, the Lady Flacons held a slim 15-13 lead, but pulled away for the 25-20 win.

A large part of the Los Fresnos fire power came from Giselle Ibarra and Emma Stambaugh. The duo pounded away to combine for 31 kills. Stambaugh led the team with 16 kills while Ibarra finished with 15. Stambaugh also finished the match with 10 digs and Ibarra finished with 15. Isis Delgado led the way with a team-high 29 digs.

“We came out on fire in the first game; it was a strong start,” said Los Fresnos coach Becky Woods. “In the second game, I thought we played well, but they (Harlingen) warmed up and in the third set they really warmed up, but our girls responded.”

Harlingen was able to accomplish something no other district opponent had done before this season and win a set against the Lady Falcons.

Prior to their loss in the third match, Los Fresnos had swept its opponents in each of their first four conference matches.

“I told the girls, ‘OK you lost your first set; it’s not a big deal.’ I told them to focus and settle down, and play like they played in the first two sets,” said Woods. “It’s good we took that one loss because it shows that we’re human. These kids, every now and then, need a reality check, but I’m proud of them on bouncing back and getting the win.”

For Harlingen, Yazmine Martinez led the way with 18 kills and seven digs. Kristen Kattan, Taegan Dickey and Monique Gonzalez finished with seven kills each. Meanwhile Julissa Munivez led the team in digs with 32 and Alina Prado finished with 37 assists and 12 digs.

“We had a slow start in the first set and that was the one thing we didn’t want to do,” said Harlingen coach Joslynn Torres. “I kept reminding the girls we couldn’t play catch-up, but I’m proud of their effort.

“In the third set we got off to a good start and we won. In the fourth set, I had confidence that we would win but they’re (Los Fresnos) a good team. We just had too many mistakes and missed serves, but we will regroup and get ready for our next game.”