Warriors fend off early challenge from Calhoun
PORT LAVACA - The cross-town series against Victoria East may get most of the attention, but Victoria West's Kelsea Kalich said there is something to the Highway 87 rivalry with the Calhoun Sandies.
"Calhoun and any Victoria team have always had a competition," Kalich said. "It's been really strong, even in middle school they were some of our biggest competition in sports."
The Warriors swept this edition of the rivalry, 26-24, 25-20, 25-19, on Tuesday night.
The Sandies came out as the aggressor in front of an energetic home gym, but it wasn't enough.
The senior Kalich had 17 kills and 20 digs, while Ellen Hermes added 32 assists to help the Warriors sweep the Sandies on Tuesday. West has won all 25 District 30-4A matches since the school opened in 2010.
"This is their home field, we knew we had to come out early," said West coach Sandy Longoria. "We also know that everybody wants to beat us so they're going to play their best game against us."
West improves to 26-4 and 6-0 in district play. Calhoun's district mark drops to 3-2.
The Warriors, who are ranked 13th in the Texas Girls Coaches Association's latest Class 4A poll, have now won 26 straight district matches dating back to 2010.
Melina Ortiz had 10 kills for Calhoun and Brooke Behrens added 20 digs for the Sandies.
Although West ended the match strong, it had a hard time dictating the tempo and answering the Sandies in Game 1.
Calhoun took an early five-point lead before West went on a 14-6 run to tie the opening game at 21 points apiece.
They played to an exciting close in Game 1. Calhoun and West played to three ties and two lead changes over the final nine points.
West took its second lead of the night on a Kate Klimist spike and the final two Calhoun kill attempts floated beyond the end and side lines to give West a two-point win in Game 1.
"We can't let up on a good team," said Calhoun coach Virginia Parsons.
Although it took West 47 points to get its first lead of the match, they wouldn't trail through all of the second game.
West jumped to leads of 9-2 and ended Game 3 on a 14-6 run.
Kalich recorded six kills after Game 3 was tied at 11 points apiece and Klimist ended the match with a spike.
"I think we all wanted the match to be over with," Gallup said with a smile.
The Warriors, just as they have all season, received contributions from younger players with an increased rolls on the varsity team or new to the varsity team altogether.
Klimist had five kills, Deane Gallup added 12 digs and Michelle Rendon had nine digs.
"They've definitely stepped up," Kalich said. "I know everyone was kind of doubting our ability this year and to be able to say that we're still doing as good as we did last year is great."
Added Longoria: "That's what it takes to be on varsity and they understood to fill the big shoes that left."
The teams met for the first time since last season's regional quarterfinals where West swept Calhoun out of the playoffs.