None of the seven Galveston County teams escaped unscathed at Day 1 of the Adidas John Turner Classic hosted by Pearland and various other surrounding schools Thursday, but three — Clear Springs, Clear Falls and Friendswood — did well enough to advance to Division I pool play Friday.
Clear Springs ran through Dallas Ursuline Academy (25-10, 25-13) and Tarkington (25-13, 25-19) to set up a pool championship showdown with perennial state powerhouse San Antonio Reagan. After a strong start, the Chargers could not hold up against the strong Lady Rattlers squad, which recorded a 20-25, 25-20, 25-13 win.
“We may not have ended the way we wanted today, but we are being tested, and that’s the purpose of this tournament,” Clear Springs head coach Shannon McClellen said. “We have some work to do. We have to stay mentally focused and mentally tough enough when we’re down by a couple of points.”
Trailing 9-8 in the first set, Clear Springs’ Mary Alper led a 6-0 Chargers run with a kill and two aces to give the Chargers control of the opening frame. Clear Springs led by as much as 12-8 in set No. 2, but this time, Reagan fought to close the gap. With the Chargers ahead, 18-16, the Lady Rattlers caught fire down the stretch, out-scoring Clear Springs, 9-2, for a stunning second set win. After that, it was all Reagan, as the Lady Rattlers raced out to a 14-4 third set lead and never looked back on their way to victory.
“Even though we lost that match, I saw a lot of good things,” McClellen said. “There were a ton of long rallies, and most of those long rallies we won. And, we were staying aggressive when we won those long rallies.”
Alana Dawson led a balanced Chargers attack with seven kills, while Avery Reynolds recorded 24 assists. Linsey Sackett (eight digs) and Erin Rogers (four blocks) led the defense, and Alper finished with three aces.
Clear Springs continues the tournament 10 a.m. Friday against Deer Park at Pearland Dawson High School, court 6.
The Friendswood Lady Mustangs began the day on their home floor with an impressive 25-17, 25-15 win over Atascocita. Friendswood head coach Sarah Paulk said the team showed much improvement in the service game on both ends from their season opening win Tuesday against Clear Lake.
“It’s really fast and furious right off from the beginning, so you’ve got to be ready to go,” Paulk said. “Last year, we struggled at the beginning of the year a lot, so one of our goals is to not struggle so much at the beginning of the year.”
Leading 8-6 in the first set, Friendswood out-paced the Lady Eagles by a clip of 10-4 to pull away. Utilizing a balanced attack throughout the run, the scoring spurt was capped by an ace from Kate Bueche and a kill from Makensy Manbeck.
In the second set, the Lady Mustangs found themselves against the proverbial ropes, trailing 10-9, but led by a pair of kills from Bueche, Friendswood reeled off six unanswered points to retake control of the set.
Manbeck (12 kills), Ashlyn Svoboda (10 kills) and Bueche (eight kills) led Friendswood’s attack. Tori Weatherley served up 20 assists, and Cierra Pesak led the defense with 10 digs.
Later, Friendswood toppled Waller (25-17, 25-7) to set up a pool championship match against Schertz Clemens, which the Lady Mustangs lost (25-18, 25-15).
Friendswood’s tournament continues 10 a.m. Friday against crosstown rival Clear Brook at Pearland High School, court 3.
Santa Fe opened its day with a 25-20, 25-22 loss to a tough San Antonio Brandeis team before facing off against fellow Galveston County team Clear Falls, which started the tournament with a 25-10, 25-16 drubbing of Pasadena Memorial.
The Knights would improve to 2-0 in the tournament with a hard-fought 25-18, 26-24 win over the Lady Indians, marking a nice turnaround after Clear Falls dropped a tough five-set contest in its season opener at Deer Park the night prior.
New Knights head coach Alison Williams said the tournament will provide an opportunity for the team to improve its defense and its blocking against strong hitters in preparation for district, as well as seeing which lineup combinations on her team will work best.
With a closely contested second set knotted at 24-24, a hitting error gave the Knights the opening they needed, and Mia Johnson closed out the match with a kill. Leading 6-5 in the second frame, Clear Falls went on a 6-0 run, only to be answered by seven unanswered points from Santa Fe (highlighted by three aces from Rachael Douglas).
The first set was another close one. Leading 16-15, a 4-0 Clear Falls run gave the Knights some breathing room as they finished off the opening frame.
Clear Falls was led in the match by Rachel Brown with 11 kills, Blakely Montgomery with 26 assists and three aces, Gracie Lewis with 10 digs, and Johnson with six kills.
After that, Clear Falls could not complete a clean sweep of pool play, falling to Brandeis (25-17, 16-25, 25-22), while Santa Fe salvaged out a win with a 25-5, 25-7 romp of Memorial.
The Knights will continue the tournament 10 a.m. Friday against Bellaire Episcopal at Dawson High School, court 4. Information on Santa Fe’s next opponent was not available before press deadline.
ELSEWHERE IN THE TOURNAMENT
• Clear Creek topped Brazoswood (25-12, 26-24), lost to Boswell (25-17, 25-16) and lost to San Antonio O’Conner (25-16, 25-23). Information on the Wildcats’ next opponent was not available before press deadline.
• Dickinson fell to Kingwood (25-13, 25-15), to Bellaire Episcopal (25-10, 25-10) and to Alvin Shadow Creek (23-25, 25-18, 25-18). The Lady Gators get Day 2 of the tournament starting at 11 a.m. Friday at Berry Miller Junior High against a to-be-determined opponent.
• Texas City dropped a tough match against Buda Hays (25-20, 25-17), another against Dripping Springs (25-15, 25-14) and a final one against Manvel (25-13, 25-19). The Lady Stings are back in action, starting Day 2 of the tournament against a to-be-determined opponent 10 a.m. Friday at Pearland Junior High South.