Ganado falls in three games to Burton in playoff opener
SCHULENBURG - Bryan Branch believes developing the foundation for a strong volleyball program is, at a minimum, a three-year process.
If that's the case, the first pillar of that process is complete, now that Ganado's 2012 season is over.
Burton advanced to the Class 1A area round with a 25-15, 25-15, 25-18 victory over Maidens in a Class 1A bi-district playoff match.
Lauren Hlavaty led the Maidens with eight kills and four blocks. Abby Stanley had three kills and three blocks in her final varsity volleyball match, while fellow senior Geoorgi Garza added two kills.
Hlavaty was the only active volleyball player in the area who knew what it took to win a state championship. She was a freshman starter on the 2009 Louise team that won the Class 1A state championship.
"We knew we had to play our best," Hlavaty said. "Winning would take care of itself, if we played our best and played as a team."
Tuesday night, her career ended when another spectacular senior produced her match-high 18th kill of the match.
Ganado knew Rachel Warner and Caitlyn Blakey were the Lady Panthers two primary hitters. However, diagnosing an opponent's offense is one thing, stopping it is something completely different.
"They say 'as long as you do what you do better than the other team, it doesn't matter,'" Branch said. "We knew they were going to (Blakey) and (Warner) and we couldn't stop them."
"Back when we were winning we did the same things every time and the other team had to stop it. When you're better, you're better. Those two girls can hit the ball."
Blakey added 12 kills to help Katie Cloud's team improve to 28-7 on the season.
In all three games, Ganado was one run away from taking the lead. But, each time the Lady Panthers responded with a string of points to extinguish the rally.
"The inconsistency, we had our good moments and it would start slipping away," Hlavaty said when asked why it continued to happen. "We couldn't pull it back in and catch back up."
In Game 1, the deficit was 18-14, before the Lady Panthers won seven of the next eight points. One of Garza's two kills cut the Maidens deficit to 12-10 in Game 2. Ganado led for a majority of the third game, until ball went through the hands of a defender in attack receive to give Burton a 17-16 advantage.
"That's the way they play sometimes," Cloud said. "They like to get behind and come out and get ahead. They start slow. But, then they will kick it in when it matters and they will play."
Burton advances to play Brackettville in the area round. Meanwhile, Ganado enters the second phase in its development as a premier volleyball program.
"It's like I told them in the locker room, we're a good team, not a great team. At this point, good isn't good enough," Branch said. "Our standards are higher than good."
"Those kids have worked hard. It's not that they didn't try. It's not that they weren't trying to do what we asked them to do. I think they did to the best of their abilities everything we asked them to do. I have zero complaints with their effort, or their attitude. It's just a long process. Rome is not built in a day. .I'm proud of them and I wouldn't trade any of them for anyone else."
SEALY 3, YOAKUM 0
Yoakum (20-16) ran into a hot Sealy team at the wrong time, and its 2012 volleyball season is over as a result of it. The Lady Bulldogs were swept 25-21 25-14 25-21 in a Class 3A bi-district playoff match Tuesday.
Lesley Seidenberger had 12 kills in her final varsity match. Latrice Brown added seven kills and seven digs in her playoff debut.
Sealy won five of its final seven district matches entering the playoffs, including a victory over El Campo Friday to qualify for Tuesday's match.
Yoakum coach Alisha Boysen said her team's problem all season has been overcoming in match setbacks all season. Tuesday night, the problem once again arose. Sealy (30-13) won the final four points of the first game, including an ace from Marissa Bolden to clinch the game, and never looked back.
"The first game, serve receive was where it needed to be," Boysen said. "We stayed point for point with them. After that, short serves were killing us and we weren't adjusting to it and making those changes."
Yoakum trailed by nine points during one stretch in Game 3. Though senior Lexi Williams doesn't play too frequently, Yoakum went on a tear, cutting the deficit to 23-21, once Williams was inserted into the contest for a few points midway through the final game.
Yoakum middle blocker Danielle Pohl had two kills and five blocks Tuesday night.
"We didn't come to play," Boysen said. "We didn't execute the things we needed to when we had the opportunity. We didn't have the enthusiasm that we needed the entire game. It just comes in spurts for us and it hurts us."