West volleyball wins district for third straight year
WEST 3, CALALLEN 1
SCORES: 25-23, 25-8, 19-25, 25-22
NOTES: Victoria West wins its third straight District 30-4A crown ... The Warriors have won 31 straight district games.
Someone in the crowd joked he would miss Tuesday's presidential debate if the Victoria West volleyball match they were watching went too much longer.
It's unlikely the man in question caught the end of the 90-minute debate, but he was able to watch at least one coronation.
Victoria West clinched its third straight District 30-4A crown with a 25-23, 25-8, 19-25, 25-22 victory over Calallen. The championship trophy will be presented Friday when the Warriors host Calhoun.
The Warriors (32-5, 11-0) are a different team than the one that steamrolled through district play the last two years, but the results have remained the same.
Victoria West outside hitter Kelsea Kalich led all players with 17 kills. The senior also added nine digs and two aces.
Afterward, West head coach Sandy Longoria said she was proud of all the girls, but especially the team's co-captains Kalich and Rachel Hamon for carrying the Warriors this year.
Longoria said the team's chemistry has been the biggest area of improvement since the team huddled for its first practice Aug. 6.
"I knew early on this team was coming from all different levels of play," West's head coach said Tuesday night. "Only two had more than two years varsity experience. The amount of chemistry has made a difference for us because now we're all playing on the same level."
Newcomers like hitter Deane Gallup, middle blocker Brooke Kirkpatrick and defensive specialist Michelle Rendon have entered the West line up this year, but the Warriors haven't missed a beat. Blair Butschek, West's setter in 2011, was a hitter for large portions of the regular season.
Butschek, who returned to the setter role earlier this month, had 37 assists in the victory. Hamon had eight kills and three blocks. Kirkpatrick had another eight kills, in addition to four blocks and two aces. Rendon led all players with 18 digs.
The first game was the closest of the four with 10 ties and nine lead changes. The teams split the first 10 points before West took a 7-5 lead after a Kirkpatrick serve forced Calallen to hit a free ball that went wide.
A Hamon kill allowed West to take a 24-23 lead in the game. The game ended when Calallen tried to give the Warriors another free ball, but instead hit the antenna.
Calallen's Saige Thomas and Hannah Flores combined for 20 kills on the night. Flores, in particular gave the Warriors fits with her attacking, as the left-handed sophomore was an attacking threat from all six positions.
Calallen (17-14, 6-4) is in its first year in District 30-4A. Despite losing, it remains a game ahead of Victoria East for the No. 3 seed in district play. The Lady Cats had won a district title in four of the last five seasons, but will have to settle for a playoff position this year.
"They were able to capitalize on our mistakes," said Calallen coach Adaora Bilse. "We're a young team so we made a lot of errors. Somebody's got to lose. We fought them hard. I'm thinking this is one of their hardest fights."
Maybe it was. But, Longoria has preached hard work all season. Her girls were ready for the challenge.
"We keep saying 'If you work hard, good things will happen,'" Longoria said. "That's where we are right now."