Rio Hondo clinches playoff berth with win over Progreso

PROGRESO — After a year’s absence from the postseason, the Rio Hondo Lady Bobcats are headed to the big dance.

The Lady Cats made quick work of Progreso in straight sets, 25-11, 25-20, 25-23, on Saturday afternoon in a District 32-6A play-in match. The Lady Cats now set their sights on the playoffs where they’ll face Sinton in a Class 4A bi-district match Tuesday.

“I think the girls were focused and they knew what their job was coming into today’s match,” said Rio Hondo coach Karen Ramirez. “The girls knew they could not come in and mess around. They really wanted this and it showed.

“At the start of the season we set some goals and today we reached one of those goals, and that was to make the playoffs. They brought the intensity today and I’m proud of them.”

Lady Cats middle blocker Atheny Ozozco was thrilled after her team’s victory.

“We’re excited to be back in the playoffs,” she said. “Right now we’re clicking as a team and it’s at the right time. Today our passing is what worked for us and that’s what makes us go offensively.”

After dominating the first set 25-11, Rio Hondo fell behind early 15-8 and saw momentum shift to the Lady Red Ants. The Lady Cats, however, settled down, made adjustments, rallied to take a late lead and then held off Progreso to take the set 25-20.

“We had been in this position before, where we fell behind in a set. We rallied around each other and brought out the fight in us and made the adjustments to get the win.” Ozozco said.

Senior Bianca Cruz paced the offense with a team-high 10 kills and five digs. Taylor Gomez checked in 10 kills while Kamryn Flores led the team with 12 digs.

“We split with Progreso this year in district play so we went back and looked at some things we needed to correct,” Ramirez said. “One of those things was our passing and today we executed it. We did make some mistakes on our free passing, but for the most part we played well.”