Win over rival East a sweet one for West
Oct. 18, 2011 at 5:18 a.m.
Updated Oct. 19, 2011 at 5:19 a.m.
EAST - 14-15-16
WEST - 25-25-25
As a freshman, Kelly Fowler tore her ACL during her very first practice.
The adversity makes her appreciate the run Victoria West has made over the last two seasons.
"It definitely makes everything that I went through worth it," Fowler said. "To be on a team like this that can win and be successful (is great)."
Fowler experienced another high Tuesday. She had three key kills in a pivotal second game as West swept cross town rival Victoria East 25-14, 25-15, 25-16 at the West High School gymnasium.
Fowler finished with six kills and seven digs, and Blair Butschek added 34 assists to help the Warriors improve to 30-6 overall and 8-0 in District 30-4A.
Rachel Hamon led the way for West with nine kills, and Sara Hermes added 10 digs.
Due to the injury, Fowler missed out on being a part of the last Memorial varsity team, but was on the squad that helped West reach the regional finals last season, where it lost to eventual state champion Lake Travis.
The senior outside hitter made her presence felt when the team needed it most Tuesday.
Although West had a 19-15 lead in the second game, the Warriors were never able to put together a run and there was still a feeling the Titans could steal the second game.
Then Fowler came up with consecutive blocks to put West up 22-15.
Sara Hermes added an ace and Fowler followed with another key spike to force game point.
Bryana Frazer clinched the game when her spike-return hit the top of the net and East was unable to get under the ball.
Against East, Fowler was part of the taller front line that helped West earn another win over East.
The Titans were able to set up kill attempts, they just could not get very many past players like Fowler, Hamon, Brooke Smith, Jordan Fedorchak and Kelsea Kalich.
The Warriors posted a total of 14 team blocks to East's four.
"We know we can do it, we just hadn't been doing it," said West coach Sandy Longoria. "Defense is our strong point."
"Out height helps us a lot," Fowler added.
The two teams met earlier this season at East, and the Titans became the first District 30-4A team to win a game against West when they won the opening game in a match West took 3-1.
But in their rematch, the Titans had trouble getting past the Warriors front line.
"It was difficult, but we did it last time," Titans coach Jayme Pauley said. "It's difficult, but it's not a deciding factor in the match."
Butschek, Kalich and Fowler all had kills to help West go on a 12-3 run that put some distance between them and their rivals.
A loud gym and emotional highs and lows have become normal when these two squads meet. Tuesday night was no different.
West used its home gym advantage to build an 8-1 lead in Game 1 before East rallied back to score seven of the next eight points, making it 9-8 and forcing Longoria to call a timeout.
"They kind of figured out our offense," Fowler said.
The Warriors took the first game 25-14.
"They're used to playing in this situation," Longoria said. "They like it. It adds to the excitement of doing a great play, it just fuels our fire."
West made sure the Titans did not rally by jumping out to a 10-3 lead in Game 3 before Pauley was forced to take a timeout.
Hannah Jaschke led the Titans with 17 assists, and Bianca Trevino had a game-high 16 digs.
The East coach said momentum ultimately swung towards the Warriors when the Titans let a string of mistakes snowball, costing them valuable points.
"Just getting frustrated and letting one mistake turn into two and two turn into three," Pauley said. "Just continuing to have letups."
The West win combined with a Calhoun loss Tuesday gave the Warriors a share of the District 30-4A title.
The Warriors can win their second consecutive outright district championship with a home win against Calhoun on Friday or a win at Beeville next week.
Meanwhile, the Titans - who have already clinched a playoff spot - are battling with Calhoun for second place in district, and Pauley stressed the importance of putting a tough loss to their rival behind them.
"We didn't play as a team, but you can't fix this game, you can't get it back," Pauley said. "You have to realize what went wrong and move forward and fix it."
The Titans close out the season at Gregory-Portland on Friday and then host Calhoun Tuesday.