Rivera sweeps to win over Mercedes

Mercedes player Carla Limas (7) gets ready to spike the ball past two Mercedes players during a match Tuesday between Mercedes and Rivera at Mercedes.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

MERCEDES — It was a quiet match.

That’s how Rivera volleyball coach Elizabeth Avelar-Guerra described her team’s three-game sweep of Mercedes during a non-district match Tuesday on the Lady Tigers’ court.

The Lady Raiders won 25-21, 25-18, 25-14. They’re getting ready for the start of District 32-6A competition Sept. 21.

There was a reason the Lady Raiders, now 18-8, weren’t quite as enthusiastic as normal, Avelar-Guerra said.

“The girls played a little slower than usual, but I think it’s because a lot of them are sick,” the Lady Raiders coach said. “There’s something going around. They were just a little bit off on their serving. We’ve never had so many missed serves with this group that I can remember.

“The girls did well (despite not being too energetic),” she added. “They started really slow, but then they finished better. They were kind of quiet, and again, I think it was due to a lot of them being sick.

“Also, Mercedes has some good hitters and they moved the ball around. They kept us on our toes. I think we were just quiet and not our usual team (that displays a lot of energy). I didn’t want to get after them too much because I know they’re sick. I’m just hoping they get well soon.”

The Lady Raiders pulled away from the 11th tie of the first game at 18 to win 25-21 on a kill by Kenya Ibarra. The second game had only one tie at 3 before the Lady Raiders went up for good, 4-3, on a Mercedes net violation. A hit by Rivera carried off a Lady Tigers player and out to give the Lady Raiders a 25-18 victory during the second game.

It was all Rivera in the final game. The biggest lead for Rivera of 11 points came at the end, when Ibarra’s back-line servicing ace closed the third game 25-14 and gave the Lady Raiders a sweep of the non-district match.

“As a team I felt we were a little off in the beginning, but overall, I believe we did really well,” said Rivera’s Christina Garza, a junior left-side hitter who led Rivera with 13 kills. “I believe that we are going to do really well in the future, and I can’t wait for people to see it.”

Added Rivera teammate Richelle Guerra, a freshman libero who is the daughter of the coach, “It feels amazing, and it’s a real honor to be on a team like this that has such amazing girls.

“We did pretty good tonight,” Guerra added. “We have a lot of good things with us that we do right now, but we still have a lot to work on. We’re doing well as a team and individually, and we’re ready for the rest of the season (including district).”

Besides 13 kills, Garza had a pair of aces. Ibarra finished with 11 kills, 13 digs and six aces. Guerra had 17 digs, one ace and one kill. Also for Rivera, Clarissa Olivares had four assists, two aces and eight digs, and Laisha Izaguirre had four kills.

Rivera, which had defeated Mercedes last month at the Sharyland Tournament, next plays at noon Saturday at home against Edinburg Economedes in non-district action.