Calhoun tops East in district matchup
Calhoun senior Dahlia Ortiz credited the Sandies' communication after a 15-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-17 District 27-5A win over Victoria East on Tuesday at the East gym.
"Our team is very close this year," Ortiz said. "We're a family that communicates with each other. Our team takes constructive criticism very well because we do have young players. But us old-timers are always ready to help put everything together."
That same communication was needed more than ever when Ortiz and the Sandies (13-7, 6-3) were forced to play catch up after the Lady Titans claimed the first set by 10 points.
Before the start of the second set, Calhoun coach Kristin Spencer kept her message simple.
"I just told my girls to be more confident and more consistent," Spencer said. "They know what they're capable of, and in the first game they didn't show that. But I told them to come out in the second set and to give it all they got."
The Sandies jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the second set behind Madysen Parker (10 kills) and Hannah Spencer (9 kills). East (9-14, 3-7) rallied with a 9-0 run before Calhoun won on a netviolation.
"We all bring each other up," Hannah Spencer said. "We want to win and continue to grow as a team. We all want to play well so we can make memories with each other."
The third and fourth sets proved to be close, but the Sandies didn't give East a chance despite several comeback attemps by the Lady Titans.
"We just have to pull together and not get down on each other," Hannah Spencer said.
Victoria East coach Misty Boenig remained positive despite the Lady Titans' playoff hopes coming to an end.
"They played hard," Boenig said. "We lost to Calhoun in the first round (of district) pretty bad, so I think for us to come out and even take Game 1 showed the potential of this team and what we are capable of doing."
"We still struggle with consistency, and I think you saw that throughout the game," Boenig added. "We are hot, then cold, then hot, then cold. Once we can figure that out, this team is going to be amazing."
Boenig is looking toward thefuture of the program.
"It's a matter of being able to take the positive and keep pushing through with it," she said. "We can't let some of the mistakes or errors disrupt ourability to play."
Leilani Wimbish-Gay proved to be the bright spot for East, finishing with an ace, 13 kills, eight blocks, and eight digs.
"I think we could've played better," Wimbish-Gay said. "We should fight for every ball, and we didn't hustle that much in the game."
The Titans will continue district play against Rosenberg Lamar Consolidated on Friday, while the Sandies will play first-place and undefeated Richmond Foster.
"There's a stigma against these teams we haven't beaten," Spencer said about playing Foster. "I think our girls are as tough and talented, so they have the experience."
"Foster is good, but this year we're going to have a different mindset and be ready because we're out to win," Ortiz added.
Wimbish-Gay is hoping for adjustments that will help East finish the season strong.
"We need to talk more," she said. "We can't get down on ourselves and we need to be positive."
Calhoun 3, Victoria East 1
Calhoun - 15 25 25 25
East - 25 22 16 17
Highlights - (East) Abby Barnett 4 kills, 1 block, 9 digs, 2 assists; Adrianna Moreno 1 kill, 1 dig; Alison Barnett 4 kills, 2 digs; Alyssa Dixon 1 assist; Jordyn Vasquez 1 assist, 12 digs; Leilani Wimbish-Gay 1 ace, 13 kills, 8 blocks, 8 digs; Loren Escalona 14 assists, 5 kill, 6 aces, 8 digs; Sam Fuentez1 kills, 3 assist, 10 digs; Sarah Diebel1 kill, 3 digs, 1 assists; Trinity Haynes 2 aces, 5 assists, 1 digs; Zakari Perry 1 ace, 5 kills, 1 block, 4 digs.
Records - East 3-7, 9-14; Calhoun 13-7, 6-3