Hiccup doesn’t cost Los Fresnos in win over Harlingen South

By Kevin Narro, Valley Morning Star

HARLINGEN — A little lapse is somewhat permissible in volleyball as long as the team doing the lapsing comes back and wins.

On Saturday in a District 32-6A showdown, Los Fresnos won the opening game against Harlingen South, then practically disappeared during the second set in losing decisively before bouncing back to win the next two games and take the match at the South gym.

The 32-6A defending champion Lady Falcons captured the match 25-18, 9-25, 25-9, 25-19 against the Lady Hawks as the teams began the second round of district competition.

Los Fresnos (31-8 overall) improved to 6-0 in 32-6A. The Lady Hawks (23-7) slipped to 3-3 in district.

“We cannot play like we played during that second game today (in losing 25-9),” Los Fresnos coach Becky Woods said. “We didn’t talk (to each other), we didn’t communicate, we didn’t pass, we couldn’t serve, we couldn’t hit, we couldn’t tip and we couldn’t do anything right.

“That second game was a disaster,” Woods added. “I don’t know what happened, but we cannot do that as we get closer to the playoffs. The first game we came out and played well. That was important. The first game is always important. You have to win that first game, and then you just hope that you can follow through and win the next two to take the match.

“If you can’t win the second game, then it’s all tied up again (just like at the beginning of the match), and it becomes anybody’s contest. It was like that today.”

A 25-18 victory during the first game gave the Lady Falcons the cushion they needed to weather the storm during the second set. The Lady Hawks held advantages of 10-3, 17-6 and 23-8 before Los Fresnos hit into the net on the final point of the second game to give South a 25-9 win.

The third game proved to be completely different. It became the Lady Falcons’ turn to dominate play by surging to leads of 6-1 and 14-8 before scoring the last 11 points of the set to win it 25-9 on a block by Los Fresnos’ Jasmin Garcia.

Tate Halford stepped up for the Lady Falcons during the third game to score on a number of kills, tips and a block.

“After our first set we had a terrible second set, so we had to alter the way we were playing to show South who we really are,” said Halford, a junior outside hitter. “We had to come together as a team (during that third game). We needed to play smart and help everybody out.

“It wasn’t about who was going to get the points or the kills or things like that,” she added. “It was about everyone helping each other out. It was like a big team effort (to get the win in the third game and get back on track in the match).”

The Lady Falcons again surged ahead during the fourth game and led by as many as 10 points twice, 17-7 and 18-8. Both times came on kills by Garcia. Los Fresnos won the fourth set 25-19 when the Lady Hawks were called for a carry on the final point.

South also lost at Los Fresnos in four games Sept. 21 during the first round of district.

The Lady Hawks remain strong contenders for the playoffs, although their district title aspirations were diminished with Saturday’s setback.

“I thought we played well,” South coach Anissa Lucio said. “We have to give credit to Los Fresnos because they have a really good team. We held our own, but we know there are some things we need to fix before our next match Tuesday against San Benito.”

Los Fresnos next plays host to Brownsville Rivera (5-1) on Tuesday in another 32-6A showdown.

Leading the Lady Falcons’ statistics Saturday were Garcia (20 kills, eight digs, three blocks, three assists, one ace), Halford (10 kills, 15 digs, four aces, two blocks), Clarissa Esquibel (46 assists, 11 digs, two blocks) and Cadence Castillo (34 digs, 21 service receptions).

The stat leaders for the Lady Hawks included Mikela Mireles (19 kills, 21 digs), Mya Pearl Aguirre (21 digs, 11 assists, six kills), Alexa Encinia (22 digs, 21 assists), Odemarys Vidana (three blocks, two kills), Zoe Garcia (44 digs), Evelyn Yanez (22 digs) and Mia Zamorano (seven digs).