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Victoria West volleyball beats La Grange in four

By BY ALBERT ALVARADO - AALVARADO@VICAD.COM
Sept. 13, 2011 at 4:13 a.m.
Updated Sept. 14, 2011 at 4:14 a.m.


Although Brooke Smith stands out as the tallest player on the Victoria West Warriors volleyball team, she isn't the only quality hitter on the squad.

The Warriors showcased their depth at the position on Tuesday in a 3-1 win over La Grange, the ninth-ranked Class 3A team in the state.

"We've got five really consistent hitters, and that's one thing that's really improved," said outside hitter Kelly Fowler. "We don't just rely on one person, we can all get the job done."

Fowler and Kelsea Kalich had 14 kills apiece, and middle hitter Rachel Harmon added 17 kills and five blocks to help the Warriors to a 25-27, 25-22, 25-22, 25-18 win.

After dropping the first game, Victoria West made the necessary adjustments, including moving the ball further out and going for kills down the line instead of down the middle.

"We work on ball distribution a lot and try to keep the defense going," said Victoria West coach Sandy Longoria.

Smith had six blocks, and Fowler added seven digs to help the Warriors improve to 21-6 on the season.

Although Victoria West had already reached the 20-win mark, Longoria said the team needed one more test before beginning District 30-4A play next week.

Despite their Class 3A classification, La Grange gave the Warriors a test as neither team could separate themselves by more than four points in the first three games.

"This was a good win for us," Longoria said. "We needed a hard game like this, we needed to finish strong and produce."

The Warriors did a better job of finishing games as the match progressed.

Victoria West looked like they would take Game 1 after forcing game point with a 24-23 lead, but La Grange took four of the next five points to win the opening frame.

The Warriors didn't let that happen again.

First, they closed out Games 2 and 3 with 4-1 runs and Game 4 on an 11-2 run.

"In the second game, we realized that we needed to play, we needed to do what we're used to doing, and we did it," Harmon said.

La Grange was fighting to extend the match and held a 16-14 lead in Game 4 until Smith came up with a big spike to turn the momentum.

The Warriors rode the surge to a 24-18 lead before Harmon's spike ended the match.

Game 2 served as the turning point of the match for the Warriors, but also had a moment that could have been big for La Grange.

The Warriors were up 13-9, but had two points deducted by the officials because Victoria West was out of rotation.

The score was adjusted to 11-9 and, although Jordan Fedorchak and Hamon combined on a block to put the Warriors up by three points, the Lady Leps scored seven of the next 10 points to take a 16-14 lead in Game 2.

The Warriors have one more non-district game Friday at Sweeny before opening defense of their district title at Gregory-Portland on Sept. 20.

"We're getting back in the groove of things and I think it's going to be fine," said Fowler about district play.

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