The beat goes on for North, headed to its first district volleyball title, while the Lady Bobcats scratched their way back into the race with a huge victory over Econ Saturday.
The Lady Coogs were 11-0 after taking care of Harlingen while EHS was coming back from a 1-0 deficit to outlast the Lady Jags, including 29-27 and 28-26 to finish. EHS (5-6) was to face P-SJ-A Tuesday with Econ (6-5) going against Harlingen. North was set for Pharr North (6-5), which was a game up on the Lady Bobcats beginning the crucial week. What EHS needed was to take winnable matches Tuesday and Saturday (P-SJ-A Memorial) and have North and then Econ (Saturday) defeat Pharr North, inherently possible for sure.
The closer for the Lady ‘Cats is next Tuesday against Harlingen South, currently second to the Lady Coogs, meaning they have to win two, get some help, and then try and take out South.
Anisa Gonzalez scored 18 kills against the Lady Jags while Bri Detwiler was strong with 10 kills, 34 digs, and 10 assists. The win followed a valiant but vain effort against North the previous Tuesday, where EHS played well for one of the four games.
In Game Three Tuesday, the Lady Bobcats showed what they were made of, getting fired up and going on the attack. Myranda Hinojosa started the parade with a couple of aces and EHS dominated from there. When Brittany Salinas and Kristian Hernandez rose to block a try from North's Jessica Martinez, the home crowd erupted with cheers.
After a 25-14 decision brought the team to within one at 2-1, it seemed like EHS might be able to put a damper on North's goal of starting 10-0 in District 31-5A.
It didn't happen, as the Lady Coogs regained their composure with a 25-17 win to close things out. Though they dropped to 4-6 with the loss, the Lady ‘Cats can move on with some momentum, that is, if they can just duplicate the Game Three performance during the last four games of the slate.
"It shows that we execute we can play with anyone," said Lady Bobcat Coach Deanna Sanchez-Dominguez. "We had a game plan and we followed it, but the rest of the time, we didn't pass well, we were scrambling too much out there, we didn't get to our base in time...sometimes with all the youngsters we have, it seems like they are watching the game instead of playing in it."
At various times then, the Lady ‘Cats played postseason-style volleyball, but in the end, North was too good and EHS was too inexperienced. For long stretches, the momentum rested squarely with the hard-hitting visitor, and there was nothing EHS could do about it.
"Volleyball is unlike any other sport, in that there's no halftime, you get three minutes between games and one minute for timeouts," Sanchez-Dominguez said. "Things happen quickly out there and once you get into a slow stretch, you can lose a game in a hurry. I think we didn't have a chance to regroup, and it hurt us."
North meanwhile is adept at adjusting on the fly, as the Dream Season continues. Coach Adrian Cavazos was pleased with the first two sets, and the fourth. Star frontliner "Jumpin' Jessica" Martinez (12 kills), as a good veteran will do, focused on the downside afterward.
"We cannot relax against anyone, for any length of time." said the senior jumping jack, who took turns hammering monster kills Tuesday with classmate Aleena Cubriel (18 kills) who had some simply nasty daggers into the teeth of the EHS D. "We can't afford to let up, because any team we play can potentially beat us. Still, we are 10-0 and finally, we've never done that before, so that's cool."
Cavazos explained the lapse in Game Three on the basis of what EHS came out to do.
"We weren't really for the attack, they had been tipping a lot in the first two games," he said. "And then we were defending them out to the antennae, but they started cutting back in with hits, it definitely got us off balance."
EHS now turns attention to climbing out of fifth place and back into contention. The Lady Bobcats have exhibited potential all season long, and just needed a sustained run the next 10 days to make it happen. The win Saturday helped.
"I hate to depend on anyone else, but we are in that situation with these losses lately," Sanchez-Dominguez said after Tuesday's loss.