It wasn’t the best they can do, but it was plenty good at times, and finally, enough for the win. A talented and inconsistent Edinburg North crew took the court Tuesday night at home facing P-SJ-A Memorial, and the Lady Cougars were, well…talented and inconsistent.
This year’s group improved to 4-2 in District 31-5A by taking out the Lady Wolverines in four games, dominating at times and looking confused at others. So, as the first half was set to wind up Saturday with a huge rivalry game against EHS, Lady Coog coach Adrian Cavazos was excited, but still nagged by lingering problems with his girls.
“We were just mediocre tonight, and it’s been that way off and on, we’re just not consistent enough,” said the long-time mentor who got the club back in the postseason last year after a two-season hiatus. “When we’re on, we can play with anyone, the problem has been that we’ve played in spurts. Sometimes we just can’t finish.”
The inability to put teams away showed itself earlier in the year in a number of contests North should have won. The Econ match stands out to Cavazos, as does the try against Harlingen South; those are the two league games to go into the L column so far.
“We were playing well against South, we were right there, and then I guess they woke up or we went to sleep,” he noted, speaking of Saturday’s loss. “It’s a little frustrating, but we’re working on some new offenses, and we definitely need to come ready to play against Bobcats. That’s a rivalry game and they always play us hard.”
Cavazos has high standards for his girls, and at times Tuesday they lived up to them and then some. The hitting tandem of Brandy Garcia and Christy Brandt was solid, and there are a number of other options, including newcomer Aleena Cubriel, a leaper with excellent legs, and Jessica Martinez, another high flier who is back from an injury and working her way back into fettle.
“She is starting to have more confidence,” said Cavazos about the springy Cubriel. “When she’s on, there seems to be no one who can stop her. And we’re glad to get Jessica back, too.”
With a 4-2 mark right now, the team is in position to challenge for the top spot, if it can overcome some issues at the setter spot. Victoria Hesbrook had a super game Tuesday, serving a couple of long winning sequences and consistently finding the bigs for spikes. If she can solidify the spot, North might just be a darkhorse to beat Econ and South in the second round.
RECAPPING THE WIN
North was in control for Game One, leading 16-6, but lost focus and allowed the Lady Wolves to climb back into it at 21-20, home side. Then, Brandt, who has a tremendous wingspan and underrated quickness, blocked twice, helped on the second by Abby Garza, and the edge went back to the Lady Coogs. Destiny Rodriguez served a powerful ace and Martinez elevated to end it, 25-20, on a feed from Hesbrook, who like Martinez has been hampered by hurts in 2009.
In Game Two, Memorial assumed a 3-point lead on two occasions before Garcia recovered from a block at net to score on the second attempt for an 11-11 tie. Brandt played one off the roof of the North gym and later in the sequence saved a ball from hitting the ground and her team converted.
Garza dived to the floor to show some hustle, and with Rodriguez holding serve, the club carved out a 16-15 advantage.
They looked good for the win at 21-17, but then the old up-and-down North reemerged, allowing the visitor to claim a 25-22 victory with a late rush, despite a hammer from the mid-row by Rodriguez that took off like a gunshot.
After Memorial went out ahead, 5-4, in Game Three it was time to put up or shut up, and the Lady Coogs responded with some of their best ball of the campaign. Hesbrook toed the line and served rocket after rocket, leading North to 12 points in succession. Brandt shower her versatility with a block, another fast-thinking save, and a hard kill as her mates took the reins. She and Garza continued to dominate the net, and at the end it was 25-12, North, with the game-winner ricocheting off a greenclad into the stands, where the Hesbrooks dodged the missile and exchanged a high five to celebrate both the win and their daughter’s stellar volley work.
That did it for North, as the Lady Coogs blew Memorial out of the water in the clincher, getting ahead 8-0 with Cubriel rising for a block and a stinging spike for a point. Garcia got hot as the game went on, scoring four times with her hard and true hits, and Rodriguez fired in another ace.
When North is right, it’s tough to handle the onslaught of talent. Cavazos knows that it will get tougher as the season wears on, but he hopes that the team’s bona fide ability will begin to asset itself with more regularity. Tuesday’s effort was an example of what can happen when this is the case.
NOTES: The way this season is going, North turned around and lost a hardfought match against EHS Saturday, leaving the two teams tied for third in the league at 4-3. The Lady Bobcats took the first and fourth while the Lady Coogs win in two and three. The clincher went to Edinburg, 15-20.
Beckah Rodriguez had 14 kills for her team while Lady ‘Cats mate Alyssa Perez collected 56 digs in five games.
Econ kept pace as the second-place entry from 31-5A, taking out P-SJ-A Memorial in four to rise to 6-1 in league.
It was a great weekend for Edinburg North cross country as the boys won the Juarez Lincoln Invitational in La Joya, placing three runners in the top 10, led by Luis Serrano, who won it with a time of 15:45.45. The girls were as good, capturing the Juarez Lincoln event with Jensye Vazquez third, Ari Lumbreras sixth and Kim Burgoa ninth.