Victoria West falls in three to Cedar Park
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SAN ANTONIO - As the match went on, the Victoria West Warriors got stronger, improved and were able to finish stronger against the Cedar Park Timberwolves.
Unfortunately, it was a sloppy start that did them in.
Kelsea Kalich had 14 kills and 13 digs while Blair Butchek added 34 assists, but it wasn't enough as West (36-8) was swept by the Cedar Park Timberwolves (41-7) in the Region IV-4A semifinal at Taylor Field House.
"We fought hard at the end. We just needed to start off a little bit better," said West coach Sandy Longoria after the 12-25, 18-25, 25-27 season-ending loss.
Cedar Park advances to the regional final against Boerne Champion on Saturday afternoon.
West's season ended in the regional tournament for the third straight time at Taylor Field House. The Warriors lost to the Timberwolves in the regional semifinals for the second straight season.
"It's almost like we were trying too hard," Hamon said. "We weren't waiting for the ball, we were trying to overdo stuff and not concentrating on what people can really do."
Junior defensive specialist Michelle Rendon added 10 digs for the Warriors.
Timberwolf runs were a theme and on Friday, Cedar Park used them to distance themselves from West.
In Game 1 West took an early 4-3 lead before Cedar Park went on a 15-5 run. In the middle frame, the Warriors jumped ahead to the same score, but Cedar Park scored the next eight points to take control of the match.
"You can't make multiple errors in a row, that's how you let teams in the game," Longoria said.
"We lost that game ourselves," said Hamon about Game 2. "We made a lot of errors that we shouldn't have made and they turned that around and they won."
West had the task of lineup up across the net from a pair of future NCAA college players Cedar Park senior outside hitter Hope Lemon and senior libero Linda Steinhardt.
Next season, Steinhardt will play in the Southeastern Conference for Missouri, while Lemon will head to St. Leo University, a Division II school in Tampa, Fla.
Longoria said that in the end, Cedar Park's height advantage and offensive weapons were too much for West to overcome.
"They're a very good team, you can't take anything away from them," Longoria said.
"We weren't as prepared as we thought we were," Kalich said about the Timberwolves defense. "We tried to go around, tried to go around and they just seem to be everywhere."
Kill attempts that found their way in during 12 District 30-4A and three playoff wins weren't falling for the Warriors. The Cedar Park defense was excelling in serve-receive as the Warriors didn't register an ace all night.
"They're pretty big girls and we hadn't played played girls of that size in a while," Hamon said. "It was challenging."
The Warriors found their form in Game 3 and didn't let their season end easily.
The Timberwolves didn't lead by more than four points and had trouble putting West away.
"We didn't realize this could be our last game, until the third game, it hit me and I think it hit everyone else," Kalich said.
The Warriors tied the game twice after the Timberwolves forced match point.
With Cedar Park ahead 24-22, Kalich put down a spike that gave the Warriors another shot. Once Cedar Park regained the lead at 25-24, Kalich put down another spike to tie things up at 25.
They proved to be the last spikes of the season and of Kalich's high school career. Cedar Park junior outside hitter Hailey Roberts and Lemon put down spikes to give Cedar Park a 27-25 win in Game 3 and clinch the match.
Friday was the final game for Kalich and Hamon, the only two players to have been a part of all three varsity teams since the school opened in 2010.
"They meant everything, they're the heart and soul of this team," said Longoria about the pair. "As seniors, they took on the leadership role and put the team on their back. I'm really proud of them."
Hamon finished with six kills and three blocks. Butchek had eight digs and senior outside hitter Deane Gallup had five kills in their final game at West.