Lady Flyers sweep San Antonio TMI to open district play
During the St. Joseph Lady Flyers' district opening match against the San Antonio TMI Panthers, junior setter Natalie Bales did what team captains are expected to do, step up and make a play.
She delivered a big spike that tied the second game, but more importantly, gave the Lady Flyers the momentum that carried them the rest of the match.
"When that happens, I feel like it's my turn to step up and get everybody together," Bales said. "Our passes started coming together at the end of the second game and that helps a lot."
St. Joseph opened TAPPS District 3-4A play with a sweep of TMI on Tuesday.
Junior outside hitter and defensive specialist Lauren Kurtz led the team with 14 kills and 13 digs during St. Joseph's 25-21, 25-19, 25-17 sweep.
Bales had 28 assists, but it was her kill that lifted the Lady Flyers in Game 2. She came to the net and delivered a spike that the Panthers defense couldn't handle and tied the second game at 17.
"When you get a hit like that you get what we call a 'happy birthday,'" said senior middle blocker Analise Ybarbo. "Everyone gets really happy because you're so aggressive and you take it to the max."
St. Joseph went on to win eight of the next 10 points in Game 2 and jumped out to a an early 10-7 lead in Game 3.
"Once she had that kill we had a lot of energy and we were ready to finish the game and win it," Kurtz said.
The win improves St. Joseph's overall record to 23-4.
Although the Lady Flyers had played in 26 matches previous to Tuesday, co-head coach Allyson Griffin stressed the imporance of the district slate.
"Everything before now was practice, this is for all the marbles," Griffin said. "We've got to perform well. We've got to get wins every time going into our district tournament."
St. Joseph jumped out a 17-8 lead in the opening game, but TMI rallied to take 13 of the next 17 points.
Griffin said St. Joseph's passes started to fall off, costing the team chances to attack and score.
After a St. Joseph time out, Carly Boles attacked at the front of the net and put down a spike that TMI's Kendall Bohne couldn't handle and the Lady Flyers withstood the rally.
Lindsey Still laid down a spike that fell inside the corner lines by the TMI bench to clinch Game 3 as well as the match for St. Joseph.
Defensively, the Lady Flyers held TMI outside hitter Danielle Ridewood to just three kills.
The Lady Flyers defense had to adjust to somthing volleyball teams don't see very often, a left-handed outside hitter.
A different hand means different angles and a different way to defend an attack.
"You have to make sure that you watch her arm and you know where she's going or else you can get blasted in the face," Ybarbo said.
The loss drops TMI's record to 17-4 and 1-1 in district.
Ybarbo finished with 10 kills and three blocks while Brooke Brooks added 12 digs and Still chipped in eight kills.
The Flyers look to keep the momentum going on Thursday when they continue district play at Austin St. Dominic Savio and return home for a Saturday afternoon match against San Antonio Christian.