Calhoun wins area volleyball match
Nov. 3, 2011 at 6:03 a.m.
Updated Nov. 4, 2011 at 6:04 a.m.
PORTLAND - Virginia Parsons turned toward her team, clinched both fists and exhaled.
Somehow, her Calhoun volleyball team fought back in its Class 4A area playoff match against Flour Bluff to pull out a third game - a game it appeared destined to lose.
Flour Bluff head coach Kara Wallace tried to encourage her team after it lost four straight game points, but the Lady Hornets (19-17) never recovered, falling 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, 25-20 to the Sandies on Thursday evening.
The Sandies (25-14) advance to the regional quarterfinals for the first time in eight years, where they will play the winner of the Victoria West-Corpus Christi Ray match Friday.
Sandies senior Sage Sexton had one of the finest performances of her career with 16 digs and 13 kills, including a handful of influential side outs in the third and fourth games. She said the win was largely because of the team's communication.
"I did have some errors but, I felt I executed when needed," Sexton said. "I felt I needed to pick people up when needed also. Not just in our play, but with our spirit."
It wasn't just Sexton who came through at opportune times.
Melina Ortiz (11 kills, two blocks) and Jordan Edison provided offense from the middle hitter position and blocked or deflected Flour Bluff's leading hitters Katie Thompson and Makenzie Jauer a number of times.
Calhoun senior Jayda Barton had a double-double with 16 digs and 15 assists.
"I think we stayed in the game. They didn't blow us away," Parsons said. "We had to fix some of the digging errors and put up some better blocks because they were hitting the ball pretty solid. (Jauer) was hitting the ball pretty solid."
The biggest moment, however, might have been provided by freshman Ciana Tankelewicz, who had a couple service errors early in the third game.
But Parsons stuck with her gut, allowing Tankelewicz to serve trailing 24-23 in the third game. She repaid Parsons' faith with three deep serves, allowing the Sandies to set up their defense.
"We're trying to stay calm," Parsons said. "A lot of times, if you stay calm and not try to get them too fired up about the smaller points (it keeps) them focused."
"That is what we try to do: keep them positive and focused."
All season long the Calhoun coaching staff has preached positivity. They did the same Thursday, and their girls responded with a relaxed performance in a pressurized playoff match.