Lady Falcons hang on, top McAllen Rowe in five games

The Los Fresnos volleyball team commemorates coach Becky Woods’ achievement of her 700th career coaching victory after the Lady Falcons won their first home game of the season (Wood’s 704th win) against McAllen Rowe in five games Tuesday at Los Fresnos High School. Stefan Modrich/The Brownsville Herald

LOS FRESNOS — Major milestones tend to be a tough act to follow, but the Los Fresnos Lady Falcons were up to the task.

So it was when the Los Fresnos commemorated volleyball coach Becky Wood’s 700th career victory prior to Tuesday night’s game against McAllen Rowe by handing out signs to spectators inspired by the simple piece of paper Wilt Chamberlain held up in an iconic photograph following his 100-point game.

It was a fitting gesture for a team that appeared very much interested in making Woods’ 704th win just as memorable, triumphing 3-2 in five sets 25-14, 20-25, 17-25, 25-18, 15-9.

The LFCISD board also presented Woods with a plaque in recognition of her achievement.

The Lady Falcons (9-2) appeared on track to sweep the Lady Warriors after opening the match on a 7-0 run in a strong first game, but McAllen Rowe shook off the jitters to lead by as many as eight points in Set 2.

“We were on fire (in the first game),” Woods said. “The spark was there, the energy was there. I just wish we would have carried it over into the second game.”

The Lady Falcons returned just two starters on this year’s team, and Woods said she was impressed with the new squad’s debut on its home floor. The balanced Los Fresnos lineup featured Ari Gallardo, Mia Brown and libero Eleyne Rios, each of whom recorded multiple kills.

This depth was evident when Los Fresnos overcame a deflating loss in the third game by taking an early 10-7 advantage into Game 4. Jasmin Garcia in the front row and Clarissa Esquibel in the back row were the catalysts for the Lady Falcons in building a lead that eventually bloomed to 16-9. An emphatic block by middle blocker Gio Godoy made the score 18-10. A point from Tate Halford and another Garcia spike put Los Fresnos in command up 24-18.

Woods said home court played a crucial role in the Lady Falcons’ ability to turn the match in their favor during the fourth game.

“When we won Game 4, I asked the girls, ‘Serve or side?’ We practice on (the east side of the gym) faithfully all the time just for that reason alone. If we get pushed to a Game 5, we want to play on our home side.”

Woods said that while she expected that her team keep the same intensity to establish the tone earlier in the match, she was pleased with her team’s determined approach after falling behind 2-1 in games.

Garcia’s soft touch was the game-winning point to force a fifth set. After charging out to 5-1 and 12-6 fifth-set leads, Garcia and the Lady Falcons captured the final game with a ferocious spike for a match-point kill.

“I was just hoping that she would rotate back in,” Woods said. “I saw where the rotation was, and I knew she was coming back in as soon as we had sideout. When she came back in, I knew if we just could get it to her, she would put it away.”

Stefan Modrich Total Posts: 158 Stefan Modrich is a 2017 graduate of Arizona State University, where he was the Sports Editor for The State Press, ASU's independent student news publication. He is also a graduate of the University of Zagreb in Croatia, where he completed a foreign language program in 2018. A native of Franklin Park, Illinois, Modrich previously covered high school sports for The Arizona Republic, Chicago Tribune, and Mars Reel Media.