LOS FRESNOS — The District 32-6A volleyball race got off to quite a rousing start Saturday in Los Fresnos.
A district opener featuring favorites Los Fresnos and Harlingen South was characterized by dramatic, back-and-forth action with loud responses by the fans, and was eventually won by the Lady Falcons 28-27, 25-17, 17-25, 27-25.
The Lady Falcons, ranked No. 24 in Class 6A by the Texas Girls Coaches Association, improved to 26-8 on the season and 1-0 in district. South is 20-6, 0-1.
“It was very intense,” Los Fresnos coach Becky Woods said. “We let our guard down in that third game, and you don’t dare let your guard down against any team in this district.
“We also missed a lot of serves, and that hurt us,” Woods added. “I already told our girls there will be consequences for those missed serves. You miss serves at the junior high level, but not at the varsity level. (Serving into the net and serving out,) it’s just giving a point away. You can’t do that.”
An unofficial tally showed Los Fresnos had serves go awry nine times. It seemed like more, but at least those serves off the mark didn’t cost the Lady Falcons the match, although they created some anxious moments for the Los Fresnos fans.
South coach Anissa Lucio was disappointed with the outcome but said her team will bounce back.
“It was a tough match, but I’m proud of the way my girls fought through it,” Lucio said. “We showed a lot of grit, and we’re going to take that into our next (32-6A) match on Tuesday (at San Benito).”
The Lady Falcons showed some resolve of their own by rallying after falling behind by nine points, 20-11, during the opening game. A hit into the net put Los Fresnos down by nine, but little by little, the Lady Falcons battled back.
There were ties at 24, 25 and 26 near the end of the first set. Back-to-back kills by Los Fresnos’ Jasmin Garcia, a senior middle hitter, provided a 28-26 victory for her team to open the match after things didn’t look too promising earlier.
“This was a lot like our (non-district) match against McAllen Rowe (earlier this season), which is another good team,” said Garcia, who finished with a match-high 32 kills. “All of us just decided to keep going and never give up at all.
“My role was I just wanted to hit so badly,” Garcia added. “I just wanted to help us win. The whole team learned to come back, and we all did a good job.”
Things looked even better for the Lady Falcons after they won the second game 25-17. Los Fresnos broke away from a tie at 11 during the second set to make it 12-11 on kill by Gio Godoy, and the Lady Falcons never trailed the rest of the game. The Lady Falcons won the set by eight points when Godoy sent a strong hit over the net that went off a South player and carried out.
The Lady Hawks went on another strong run during the third game, and this time didn’t let up. They were ahead by scores of 7-2, 9-3, 12-6, 19-13, 22-14 and 24-15 before a block by South’s Mya Pearl Aguirre won the set 25-17 and gave the Lady Hawks new hope in the match at 2-1.
The hotly contested fourth game featured 15 ties. It was clear neither team wanted to give in.
The last tie came at 25, and from there, Los Fresnos went ahead 26-25 when South hit a ball too long. A hit into the net by the Lady Hawks on the next point gave Los Fresnos a 27-25 victory and secured the district-opening match for the Lady Falcons.
Stat leaders for Los Fresnos included Garcia (32 kills, three blocks, three aces), Godoy (14 kills, 13 blocks, two aces), Cadence Castillo (30 digs, two aces), Clarissa Esquibel (54 assists, 18 digs), Mia Brown (11 digs, two kills) and Tate Halford (nine kills, 19 digs).
For the Lady Hawks, the stat leaders were Aguirre (19 kills, 19 assists, 24 digs), Mikela Mireles (22 kills, 29 digs), Alexa Encina (20 assists, 19 digs), Odemarys Vidana (two kills, eight digs), Korynne Reininger (three blocks), Allyah Guevara (three kills, seven digs), Zoe Garcia (48 digs) and Evelyn Yanez (51 digs).
South next plays Tuesday at San Benito. Los Fresnos goes to Rivera for its next match the same night.