As the Lady Bobcats wrapped up the non-district season with a match against Mission Veterans, they showed they can rely on both senior leadership and freshman potential.
In a 4-game victory that made them 7-5 for the year heading into the 31-5A starter at home against P-SJ-A Memorial Saturday, the Lady ‘Cats got a great game from senior Andrea Solis, especially in the early going, and some inspired hustle from 9th-grader Myranda Hinojosa.
Though it was a tough night against the Lady Patriots, with a bustle of lead changes and some inconsistent play from the home side, Edinburg managed the win.
Coach Deanna Sanchez-Dominguez gets star libero Alyssa Perez back for the district slate, and that’s super news. The backline fill-ins have held the line with Perez out with a heart ailment, but the return of “AP” is going to give the team a steadying presence that it has missed this late summer.
In her stead, Solis, called a “utility star” by her coach who can play anywhere, any time, enjoyed perhaps her best outing of 2009, scoring consistently with ringing kills, serving expertly, and manning her usual cheerleader role.
“I don’t care where I play, really, I just want to be out there,” said Solis, who can bring it in the middle, outside, and in back if needed. “Just as long as I am in there, I don’t care. Either way, I just try to keep the team together and show them they have to stay strong. We have to talk it up if we want to win.”
Then there was Hinojosa, who is looking less like a freshman each time out. She was at her best in the late going, setting with ease (28 assists) and ranging around the court like a waterbug to keep loose balls alive to give her unit a chance to make a play.
Sanchez-Dominguez enjoyed the win against Veterans, a team that had defeated Edinburg in the P-SJ-A Memorial Tournament earlier in the year. But there were way too many lapses to really make her happy.
“That was plain ugly,” she sighed afterward. “We are still a work in progress, for sure. But Andrea played well tonight, she is our number one sub and she is always ready to go in there and contribute. Now we look to district play, and we’d better be better than this.”
UP AND DOWN
It was a weird match, with the Lady ‘Cats seeming dominant at times but at others looking out of it entirely. They fell behind 8-4 in Game One as the Lady Pats were sharp. Later, though, unforced errors haunted the visitor, and EHS crawled back into things. Solis (she had 11 kills) stole a weak hit at the top of the net and slapped a winner for a 17-17 tie, and scored again for the lead. EHS climbed into a 22-20 lead on two more Solis winners but then cratered, surrendering five in a row to lose, 25-22.
Game Two was Sarina Time, with senior Sarina Rios rebounding from a slow start to fly above the net with several scores. It was 6-0, Lady Bobcats but again they gave up a slew of points in a row, this time another five.
Hinojosa dived to save one midway through but Vets assumed a 14-10 advantage. She fed Solis for a kill and Rios slapped one down for a 16-all tie. With Solis serving and Rios scoring, the team forged ahead, with Vets close at hand.
Two plays spelled the win for Edinburg, as Ashley Garcia (37 digs) made a pair of nice saves leading to a kill from Beckah Rodriguez, whom Sanchez-Dominguez said has been the most consistent girl this season. That gem made it 21-19, and then Rios skied high to push one to the open space right as she leapt left.
Later, newcomer Mimi Tigner, a transfer from Economedes, tipped one at the net for the winner, 25-22, as EHS found a way to win despite another uneven effort.
Still, a bad start put the club behind by three in Game Three, until Rios (20 kills) unloaded twice. It was neck and neck most of the way, with another pair of winners from the rangy Rios and some nice contributions from Bri Palacios. The latter pushed one through the defense to make it 22-19, Vets and followed with a scoring tip as EHS hung in.
Turning the tables, Edinburg rolled to the win with five straight at the wire, as Hinojosa fooled the defense with a flip-over on second hit, and Tori DeLeon dug one out leading to a later serving winner from Tigner in the 25-23 victory.
With the clincher in sight, the Lady ‘Cats were strong in Game Four, racing out to a 9-2 lead with Solis serving six winners running, but the Lady Pats rallied into a 13-12 lead, with unforced backline errors dogging EHS.
Luckily, Hinojosa (18 digs) picked this moment to grind into high gear, with three saves, a pair of assists, and a perfect feed to Rios for a ringing slam. Rios smacked a putdown to knot it at 17, behind another solid round of serves from Solis.
Rodriguez, relatively quiet Tuesday, got a laser down off a Hinojosa pass and it was 22-18. But again, EHS gave up four in a row to fall into a tie, and a fifth game loomed on the horizon.
However, after a timeout, Hinojosa’s tricky serve aced the defense, between two, and the home team went on to survive.
NOTES: All three locals began the league race with wins Saturday, as EHS beat P-SJ-A Memorial, North rallied to outlast Harlingen, and Econ had little trouble with Pharr North. The Lady Jags looked to the annual showdown against Harlingen South, at home, to start the week’s action Tuesday.