Los Fresnos stops Hanna, moves to 4-0 in district

LOS FRESNOS — It takes playing a strong game with minimal errors to defeat the Los Fresnos Lady Falcons in volleyball on their home court.

Hanna brought lots of energy and fire into Saturday’s District 32-6A showdown at Los Fresnos during a match between the two teams tied for the conference lead at 3-0 apiece. But the Lady Golden Eagles weren’t able to sustain their solid play to the end of the match in falling to the Lady Falcons 22-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-23.

As a result, Los Fresnos is the lone 32-6A leader at 4-0, while Hanna slipped to 3-1 and is alone in second place. Also in the six-team district after Saturday’s action, San Benito is 2-2 and Rivera, Harlingen South and Harlingen High are all 1-3.

The next 32-6A matches Tuesday will mark the end of the first round for district play.

“This was going to be a tougher match, and we knew that coming in because we were the only two undefeated teams left in our district,” said Los Fresnos’ Sandra Salazar, a senior outside hitter. “At first, it was kind of rough, and it was just because of mistakes within ourselves, but we really pulled through toward the end.

“I’m just really proud of my team,” Salazar added. “We all did really well, and I’m happy we won.”

After numerous ties during the opening game, the last of which came at 21, the Lady Eagles scored four of the next five points and won 25-22 on a well-placed tip by Odalys Gonzalez.

Hanna led 7-2 to start the second game, but the Lady Falcons soon battled back to tie the set eight times, the last time coming at 20. Los Fresnos eventually won 25-22 when Victoria Garcia Lebron made a successful tip to mid-court on the side.

Lebron and Jasmin Garcia are two Los Fresnos players who haven’t played a whole lot so far this season, but they earned some extended minutes with their solid play Saturday.

The Lady Falcons displayed their prowess during the third game, surging to advantages of 14-7, 16-8, 19-12 and 21-14. A back-line kill by Los Fresnos’ Gaby Cuevas allowed the Lady Falcons to take the third game 25-19.

By that time, the Lady Falcons were feeling as though they had gained the upper hand.

Hanna did not go away, however, as the fourth set was tied seven times, with the final deadlock coming at 23. From there, back-to-back kills by Jasmin Garcia, a tall, slender junior hitter, closed out the game and the match, with Los Fresnos winning the fourth set 25-23.

Los Fresnos had beaten Hanna twice in tournaments earlier this season.

“This time, Hanna was definitely more solid,” Lady Falcons coach Becky Woods said. “They were ready for us. Everybody’s ready for us. Hanna was hitting the ball hard at us, and we just needed to make some adjustments after that first game. Basically, what we did was put our tall girl (Jasmin Garcia) on their big hitter (Gonzalez). Jasmin came through and was (blocking and) hitting the ball for us.

“This win means a lot for us because we’ve got to go to San Benito on Tuesday (and we need the momentum),” Woods added. “San Benito beat us (in five games during a non-district match Sept. 15). We have to go to San Benito and play hard. They beat us by tipping, and that’s what we’ve been working on, plus our movement in the backcourt.

“We have to go into San Benito and play like we played Hanna. I’m proud of how these girls played today.”

Emma Stambaugh led Los Fresnos with eight kills, and teammates Jasmine Garcia and Garcia Lebron added seven kills apiece. Cuevas contributed five kills.

Also for Los Fresnos, Hanna Castillo had five digs and two aces, Sarah Villarreal had 43 assists and seven digs, and Isis Delgado had 10 digs.

For Hanna, Gonzalez and Ariana Arceneaux recorded 18 and 11 kills, respectively. Gonzalez also had five blocks and five digs. Nataly Davila added seven kills and four blocks, and Tabitha Fernandez had 23 assists and 14 digs. Aniel Aguero contributed 20 assists and 11 digs, and Angelina Castillo had 16 digs. Also for the Lady Eagles, Vivian Izaguirre and Natalie Arnold had four and three kills, respectively.

“I feel we kind of lost a little momentum in the second set, and then we had a bad (start to the) set in the third before we came back in the fourth game,” Hanna coach Ansgar Hagemann said. “It’s an open (and very competitive) district, and today things went against us, but I believe we’ll be fine.”

While Los Fresnos will be at San Benito on Tuesday, the Lady Eagles that night will be at home against Harlingen South.