Warriors dominate Tuloso-Midway (video)

Julie Garcia By Julie Garcia

Sept. 10, 2013 at 4:10 a.m.

Eat, sleep, go to school, play volleyball.

In a nutshell, that is the lives of Victoria West seniors Ellen Hermes and Michelle Rendon.

Both are key players - Hermes for offense and Rendon for defense - for the Warriors, and each has been part of the varsity squad since her sophomore year.

In its match against Tuloso-Midway on Tuesday night, West won all three games, with Rendon and Hermes putting up big numbers.

"As a team, we played really solid," said Hermes, who had 31 assists. "Having a good solid start is comforting for us to go into the rest of the games."

The Warriors entered their first night of district play strong, a trend that coach Sandy Longoria expects to continue.

Initially worried about her players' inexperience, Longoria said that she is pleased with their improvement since the beginning of the season.

Leadership is important for any team but especially one with a number of underclassmen in key roles.

"For Ellen and Michelle, they lead by example every day, all day at practice," Longoria said.

In the three-game match against the Cherokees, Rendon made 18 digs, many of which were made by hard slides on the court.

Rendon said she never has had an injury on the court but participating in the mile-relay during track season helps.

"Some of the girls just love digging the ball," Longoria said. "It's almost as fun to watch them dig as it is to watch the girls hit."

In addition to Rendon and Hermes, Brooke Kirkpatrick delivered strong kills at 12, followed by senior Kate Klimist and Saige McLarty with seven each.

"I couldn't ask more from my seniors," Longoria said.

Many things have contributed to the Warriors' success in district play, Longoria said.

"The players work very hard; they love volleyball; they're willing to commit and rise hard to the level of expectation every day at practice," Longoria said.

Tuloso-Midway coach Jamie Gill was greatly disappointed with her team's performance.

"They played awful," said Gill, who is in her first year coaching the Cherokees. "We've beat big 4A, 5A teams in Corpus, and we came in here and tanked. There was zero aggression, and the girls are mad, as they should be, because they are better than that."

In the first game, the score flip-flopped between the teams with each team's defense eager to not let the other have a point streak.

However, after West won the first game and scored big early in the second, the Cherokees sputtered and didn't recover in time.

"It's a trickle-down, domino effect," Gill said about her team's reaction to big scoring plays by West.

Gill said that the Cherokees have been unsuccessful in district for many years, and that can play a factor in their in their performance.

"Physically, they are capable," she said. "But mentally, they have some maturing to do first."

Next Tuesday, West takes on in-town rival Victoria East at the Lady Titans gym.

West has won the last three years against East. Longoria said she has been focusing on getting past the Lady Titans' strong defense.

"Offensively, we're working on getting our young players to connect with the setter and make the plays," she said. "We're always going to fight and pick up the ball."



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