Lady Hounds grind past Lady Hawks in four sets

HARLINGEN — The District 32-6A volleyball playoff race got turned up a notch Saturday afternoon.

After falling in the first set, San Benito turned in a gut-check effort by rallying in sets two and three to beat Harlingen South 3-1 on Saturday afternoon at the Lady Hawks gym.

Saturday’s win was big for the Lady Hounds, who saw Harlingen High also pick up a win, keeping both teams at 7-4 in league play. Meanwhile, Brownsville Hanna threw a wrench in the standings by upsetting Los Fresnos.

The win for the Lady Hounds became even bigger with Hanna’s win as on Tuesday San Benito will host the Lady Eagles in a match that will have huge playoff implications. San Benito beat Hanna earlier in the season 3-1.

“We started slow in the first set because we were shorthanded today so we had to go out with a new lineup, but our girls were able to adjust,” said San Benito coach Ruby Medina. “The girls did what they needed to do. It was challenging for the girls to get the hang of a new rotation. After the first set we saw what we needed to correct and in the next games we showed it and the kids deserved the win.”

In both the second and third set, San Benito fell behind early twice. In the second set Harlingen South raced out to a 12-5 lead and held on until San Benito rallied to tie the score at 19. The Lady Hounds finished off the comeback by going on a late 6-1 run.

Lady Hounds senior Crystal Ibarra answered the call with a team-high 16 kills and 16 digs while Kayleen Reyes checked in 11 kills and 18 digs.

“This was the toughest game we have played since we played Harlingen High,” said Ibarra. “They (South) played really well today. We started out rough today, but we all pulled through. Today we all had the same goal and were on the same page. We never got down on ourselves and kept playing.”

In the third set, South raced out to a 10-3 lead and extended its lead to 12-6. But San Benito rallied again by adjusting to its new lineup and leaned on their veterans. San Benito took a 20-19 lead after trailing for most of the match and completed the comeback with a 25-21 win.