HARLINGEN — Bolstered by the return of senior outside hitter Lexi Gonzalez, the No. 16 McAllen High Lady Bulldogs cruised to a road sweep of the Harlingen High Lady Cardinals on Saturday afternoon, 25-14, 25-14, 25-8.
Gonzalez’s play helped to mitigate the absence of defensive specialist Sabrina Garza.
“(Gonzalez) adds another dimension,” McHi coach Paula Dodge said. “Her leadership is outstanding out there on the floor.”
McHi got out to a 14-6 lead during the first game, and led by as many as 11 points. Andrea Tovar notched the game-winning kill.
Harlingen High’s Elaine Coronado helped jump-start the Lady Cardinals to an early 4-2 lead in Game 2 with consecutive kills, but the Lady Bulldogs quickly surged back even after block attempts by Elaina Aguinaga and Juli Bryant sailed out. Gonzalez retook the lead for McHi with a kill that brought the score to 8-7, and the Lady Cardinals never led again from that point onward.
The third game belonged to the Lady Bulldogs from the outset, as the visitors opened up a 13-1 advantage.
The highlight of the day belonged to libero Audrey Zamora, who tracked an errant ball beyond the service line, striking it backward over the net to make a sensational save and lengthen a rally that was punctuated by a McHi kill that put the Lady Bulldogs up 21-4 during the third game.
Bryant’s kill that brought the score to 21-5 was the first point that did not come via an unforced error during the third game for the Lady Cardinals.
“Our defensive game has helped keep us in a lot of plays,” Dodge said. “They help extend plays for us, and they’re doing a really good job right now.”