West volleyball does the little things to beat East
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Blair Butschek was rolling for most of the game. The defense would dig the ball out against Victoria East, and the senior setter would bump it up for one of West's big hitters.
"I was really able to pass it to all of the hitters," she said. "Everyone has my back. I get them the ball and they know what to do with it."
The senior setter had 35 assists, eight digs and three aces, while Rachel Hamon had 11 blocks and nine kills as West beat its crosstown rival East for the sixth straight time, 25-17, 25-15, 25-22 on Friday.
For the Warriors, it's their 30th straight district win. The team has yet to lose a district game, let alone to the rival Titans.
"It feels great. We knew we could do it," Butschek said. "If feels great to do it for the last time since I'm graduating."
The win also all but wraps up the district for West. With two games remaining in district play, the Warriors are 10-0. No other team has fewer than two losses.
For East, it's been a rough last week. The Titans have now lost three straight, and have dropped to 5-5 in district play.
The game was never really in doubt, as West did most of the little things - dig out kill attempts, set up hitters, avoid miscommunications on the court - better than their opponents. The Warriors rarely trailed.
Kelsea Kalich also had a big game for the Warriors, notching three blocks, 15 digs and 11 kills. Deane Gallup also had 11 kills.
Through much of the first two games, the Warriors did almost everything right. They were able to take large leads in both of the first two games that the Titans couldn't overcome.
The third game was different story. Defensive miscues for West allowed the Titans, who were led by Morgan Lienemann's nine kills and eight digs, to keep pace. The game was tied much of the way as the two traded points.
"We had a little let up in the passing game, but we made it up in a couple of ways, where we may have been out of system but we were able to get it over the net," Longoria said.
For East, Madison Hawkins had 14 assists and 10 digs in a strong performance for her, and Destani Villarreal added 12 assists and nine digs. Amber Howell had two blocks and four kills.
The win over East carries a lot of weight for West's four seniors, especially the two who have played in all six wins over the Titans.
"It meant a lot to the seniors, especially Kelsea and Rachel," Longoria said. "Those two have been around the whole time."
Longoria emphasized that the team is prepared to enter a loud, road environment like this. After all, they will likely see it again in the playoffs.
"We make sure everyone is ready to go, especially in an environment like this," she said.