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Calhoun hopes chemistry is elixir for playoff volleyball success

Oct. 29, 2012 at 5:29 a.m.

Sandies junior Jordan Edison,  digs a ball in practice at Calhoun High School in Port Lavaca on Monday.  Edison is one of four Sandies with more than 200 kills.

PORT LAVACA - There is a trophy cabinet just outside the Calhoun High gym.

The area reserved for volleyball is nearly out of space. Should things go the way the Sandies envision in the upcoming UIL playoffs someone will have to expand that trophy case.

Calhoun (31-11) returns to the playoffs for the third time in four years when it plays San Antonio Harlandale (21-15) on Tuesday night in La Vernia. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

"Last year, we went three rounds deep and that was a lot of fun," said senior outside hitter Meagan Tschatschula. "We've been working really hard this year. I'm looking forward to our team. I think we're a lot stronger."

Middle blocker Melina Ortiz added the Sandies' chemistry is better this year than on the team that won 25 games and lost in the regional round to Victoria West.

Tschatschula and Ortiz are leaders on the court and off for the Sandies. They are the two top attackers for head coach Virginia Parsons, with 254 kills and 351 kills respectively.

Academically, Tschatschula is sixth in her class with a 4.67 grade point average, while Ortiz is seventh in the Class of 2013. Ortiz aspires to be a doctor, while Tschatschula plans to become a physical therapist.

"They have not only been best friends and playing volleyball together, but they have been competing in the classroom," Parsons said with a big smile.

On, court the two seniors said one of the Sandies' strengths is their hitting. Four girls have more than 200 kills on the season, including underclassmen Ciana Tankelewicz and Jordan Edison.

In Harlandale, the Calhoun will compete against a team that has one primary hitter. According to the San Antonio Express-News junior Katie Neira has 313 kills for the Indians, which is nearly a third of her team's kills this year.

Parsons said the keys to eliminating the Indians are getting up a good block and digging Neira's attacks. Calhoun's head coach also said her girls must make Harlandale setter Crystal Flores work to receive the ball.

Harlandale enters Tuesday's match, winners of five straight District 29-4A contests. Meanwhile, Calhoun lost a playoff for the No. 2 seed in its district to Calallen Friday afternoon in Woodsboro.

The two seniors promised Friday's four-game loss is behind them. They are focused on making a run that rivals what the 2011 bunch was able to accomplish - and showing themselves and others just how far they have come.

"You understand how much more important it is," Ortiz said about entering the playoffs in her senior year. "Not that I thought it wasn't important, but I understand how great it is to move on in the playoffs. You understand everything now. How far you go just shows how great you are."

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