If they play like this the next time South is across the net, look out below!
The Lady Jags, gaining steam after a 31-5A opener loss to Harlingen South, won their third straight Tuesday, hammering city foe EHS in three straight games to send the rivals home earlier than anyone had expected.
With excellent ball control and passing, Econ (3-1, 16-4) located the ball, put it where it needed to be, and the hitters delivered; the Lady Jags beat the Lady Bobcats in all phases of the game. Edinburg (2-2, 14-7) was coming off a disappointing home loss to North Sept. 18, but could do very little against the leaping pair of Leigha Brown and Kayla Silva, who took turns belting bombs right and left.
After the smashing win in front of a huge and vocal home crowd, the sophomore Brown, hampered earlier in the year with a bum ankle, spoke to the high the team was feeling.
“We were prepared and we were pumped up,” said the middle blocker who took apart EHS’s smaller front line with a lethal combination of super length (she’s about 6-feet now) and very good quickness. “We knew that they like to tip a lot, so we were ready for it, we tried to find the ball fast, and to play transition off the net.”
Brown, whose improvement from last year to this has folks predicting superstardom for her, explained that versus a clever dinking team like EHS, defensive movement is vital, saying, “You have to hustle, and you have to get back to the 10-foot line. We did a good job tonight at those things.”
SWEEP IN PROGRESS
It’s a big league this season, as the top teams have ample size up front; South has a supply of trees, North counts on MVP candidate Christy Brandt, and Econ counters with the spindly but surprisingly strong Brown. The Lady ‘Cats have had their troubles with the power game so far, though they were able to carve out a nice start with quickness and grit.
With Brown back from a hiatus, and Silva banging away at top form, it was going to be a long night for the visitor. Still, early on it was Roylinda Guerra and Bri Palacios rising to stuff Silva for a big play. It was just 6-4, Econ, as the gym filled up, both sides having brought cheerleaders to the grudge match.
But from there, Silva, another of the All-Valley shoe-ins in town, scored twice on athletic kills, and EHS faltered with five errors; when the smoke cleared, a 10-0 run had made a shambles of Game One. Brown finished strong for the Lady Jags, showing no ill effects ankle-wise.
“It’s good now,” she said after the rout, “I have been taping it so that helps. It feels great to be good to go!”
Game Two was close for a while, with Torie deLeon selling out to save balls in the back, but Econ pulled away with superb passing and hustle. Brown made a huge block, as she is wont to do, and libero Kayla Longoria matched deLeon at her spot.
When Silva rocketed a pea off Beckah Rodriguez, the momentum turned, as unheralded Britney Curiel provided some nice effort plays.
At one point, Dani Vela denied Brown at the net for a score, but the super soph returned the favor with a mash against her on the next sequence. Brown shows the potential to be as good or better than older sister Morgan, a program legend. That’s saying something.
When Silva floored a no-doubt kill it was 21-16, and the hit parade continued with Brown and sophomore Rachel Rodriguez spiking against a disoriented Lady ‘Cat unit for a 25-17 decision.
EHS rallied to begin what would end up being the clincher, with a 3-1 burst. But they misfired badly on consecutive plays, failing to take the mojo and run with it. Silva got on one of her patented rolls and when she is in the zone, no one is better. She scored four straight and it was looking grim for the Lady Bobcats.
They climbed to within three at 15-12 but Brown cranked a pair of winners and Curiel aced twice. Rodriguez, who played well Tuesday, scored again, and this one was history, 25-17. Silva had 16 kills with Brown adding 13. Setter Lexi Barreiro had 30 assists.
So what does this mean, a one-sided beatdown with the Orange on top of the pile? It definitely gives the Lady Jags some momentum for Sept. 25, which is when they welcome Edinburg North to town for what promises top be the best volley action in this town in years. Somewhere down the road, the Lady Jags want another shot at the Lady Hawks, perennial district titlists who seem somewhat beatable in 2010. They will get it.
“When we played them, I was just back from the time off,” said Brown, who admitted to being “so sad” after rolling the ankle. “We didn’t play that well, we just sort of lost it. Against South we got mental and that’s never good. It was kind of like tonight. Once you see a team shut down, you know you have them. You just turn it on, and go, and it’s over.”
NOTES: North rolled to 4-0 in district with a sweep of Harlingen Tuesday, making it 5-0 Saturday heading into the huge game at Harlingen South Tuesday.
In five wins, the Lady Coogs (17-3 overall) have dropped just two sets.
EHS rebounded from the Lady Jag loss with a win against P-SJ-A over the weekend.