After a hard-fought five-set road win over District 23-5A title contender Alvin Shadow Creek the evening before, the Santa Fe Lady Indians kept the proverbial pedal on the metal early Saturday afternoon with a 25-14, 25-17, 25-12 win at home over the Texas City Lady Stings.
“I told them that you cannot let up and you cannot relax and to play aggressive the entire time, no matter what,” Santa Fe head coach Jennifer Webb said. “I know they were tired from a 2-hour, 15-minute match last night, but … you can’t give anybody in this district an inch.”
Santa Fe came out looking sharp from the get-go, as the Lady Indians never trailed on the scoreboard at any point in the first two sets.
In the opening frame, Santa Fe got off to a 4-0 lead and never really looked back. With the Lady Indians leading 11-8, a 7-1 run capped off by a kill from Tori Smith put the first set out of reach for Texas City.
While the Lady Stings kept things closer to begin the second set, it was another 7-1 Santa Fe run (this time with the Lady Indians leading 10-8) that again provided a significant cushion. Highlights of the run were an ace apiece from Kassidy Taves and Kylie Verm and kills from Verm and Smith.
Texas City was at its most competitive in the final set, where the Lady Stings held their first leads of the match at three different points. With the score tied 7-7, though, the Lady Indians rattled off an 11-1 run en route to closing out the match. Julia White put an exclamation point on the run with a big block.
Santa Fe has avoided a loss of momentum despite a two-week layoff from action due to Hurricane Harvey and the fact the team is now playing its home games at Santa Fe Junior High due to flood damage at the high school gymnasium.
Meanwhile, a young Texas City side is still trying to recapture some of spark it had seen before Harvey, which included a huge, confidence-building win over rival Ball High right before the storm-related schedule shifting.
“I think the layoff really hurt us,” Texas City head coach Mel Salazar said. “We had been doing really well. We had reached a point where we were moving in the right direction. … We had moved one step forward, and now we’ve moved three steps back, and we’re trying to get back on track. The only problem is we’re in the middle of district, and we can’t really afford to have the kind of issues that we’re having.”
Leading Santa Fe in the match Saturday were Verm (14 kills, six digs, four aces), Taves (16 assists, 10 digs, three aces), Smith (12 kills, two blocks), White (five blocks), Elena Dondonay (12 digs) and Maddie Schulze (10 assists).
Texas City’s top performers were Ashlynn Lewis with seven kills, Macee Medina with 11 digs, Sydney Osteen with eight assists and Jennifer Herrera with seven assists.
Up next for Santa Fe (5-0 in District 23-5A) is a major district showdown with defending champion and 23-5A favorite Manvel (4-0) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at home.
“We’ve had four wins in one week this week, and that’s a pretty big confidence booster for my kids,” Webb said. “So, they’re excited to play on Tuesday, and that will be a true test of our toughness, our desire, our want to win.”
Texas City (1-3) will have plenty of opportunities to right the ship as the Lady Stings have four matches this coming week, starting 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Fort Bend Marshall.
“We’re going to have to take what little time that we have next week to practice, because we have four games next week, to try to see if we can fix some of these mistakes and try to get this team back on track,” Salazar said.
Despite missing three starters due to injury, the Ball High Lady Tors recorded a 25-23, 25-20, 25-20 sweep at Galena Park on Saturday afternoon.
Laura Mifflin led the Lady Tors offense with eight kills, and Claire Chaljub tacked on five kills of her own. Logan Kelly dished out 23 assists. Caroline Baze led the defense with 18 digs, while Kaila Lee chipped in 13 digs.
The Lady Tors (2-3 in District 23-5A) return home for their next match, which will be 6:30 p.m. against Fort Bend Elkins.