Entering Tuesday night’s non-district game, Yoakum and Gonzales were far from strangers.
The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Apaches had already faced off three times since Aug. 6, with Yoakum taking each of the first three matches.
And Tuesday night’s non-district game was no different, with Yoakum sweeping Gonzales (25-20, 25-13, 25-15).
“It felt really good to win,” said sophomore outside hitter Jayana Phillips. “This was like our (fourth) time playing Gonzales, so we knew they were gunning to beat us, so we had to play extra hard this game.”
However, this game was slightly different compared to their previous matchups, being that Gonzales was missing a few of their players including Christie Reyna, Kristyn Baker, Tara Lester, and Cheyenne Hutton.
“Every time we’ve played them, from the first to the fourth, they’ve improved so much in every aspect of the game,” said Yoakum head coach Kayla Natho. “But tonight you could definitely tell that they were missing some key players, and that kind of hurt them a little bit.”
Gonzales’ improvement showed in the first set, going up 18-16 on Yoakum. However, the Lady Bulldogs had too much power, closing out the first set on a 9-2 run to take it.
“I think it was just getting into the groove of things, and we had to play our game and not worry about what they were doing,” Phillips said.
Phillips was able to get in a groove the next two sets and ended the night with a team-high seven kills, with a majority of them being set up from junior setter Macie Blakeney.
Blakeney, who just returned to Yoakum’s lineup after being out with an ankle sprain, credited her team-high 16 assists to her teammates, one of which was Destiny Rios, who added six kills and seven digs.
“I think my passers did really good this game, they didn’t let many balls hit the floor, and I think that my hitters did a good job of executing,” she said.
“It’s our first time to have her back, going all the way around, so I was happy with how she performed,” Natho said. “It’s great having her back to run the offense. She does a great job of spreading it out, and has a good connection with our hitters.”
Blakeney’s return to the court couldn’t have come at a better time for the Lady Bulldogs, with their next game being their first of the district season.
“My assistant coach and I, we’ve really been talking about how important it is to get this win, and get some momentum going into district play because our district is pretty tough,” Natho said.
Yoakum 3, Gonzales 0
Yoakum 25 25 25
Gonzales 20 13 15
Highlights: (Y) Jayana Phillips 7 kills, 8 digs, 1 assist; Macie Blakeney 16 assists, 7 digs, 3 kills; Destiny Rios 6 kills, 7 digs, 1 block; Addison Pekar 3 kills, 3 blocks, 2 digs; Deazia Rios 13 digs, 2 aces; Olivia Fojt 4 aces, 7 digs, 1 kill; (G) Macy Sample 5 kills, 3 assists, 2 digs; Hannah Avant 7 assists, 1 dig; Alyson Jahns 3 kills, McKenzie Hodges 4 kills, 3 blocks, 2 digs; Sydney McCray 4 blocks, 1 kill; Kelly Breitschopf 3 kills; Maddy York 5 assists, 1 kill; Records: Yoakum 13-7; Gonzales 9-15.