The Gonzales Lady Apaches ended their non-district season on a high note, knocking off the Karnes City Lady Badgers in three sets (25-15, 25-8, 25-19). Although serve-receive was a minor issue early in the first set, the Lady Apaches took advantage of their skills up front to dominate at the net and come away with key kills, overwhelming Karnes City on Tuesday.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Gonzales head coach Brittney Orunonyehu said after the game. “I had the loss of my grandpa on Saturday and they’ve really shown me what it is to be a team, but not just a team, a family. We’ve come together as one as I’ve been preaching and preaching throughout the whole season. It feels great to get this big win, but not only the win, but come together as one team to end preseason and go into district. All the girls have been amazing, I can’t tell you that we have a star because we have amazing athletes and they perform until they hit their top peak. We’re not only going to hit that peak, we’re going to go further in district.”
Orunonyehu set expectations high early in August. A month later, the team still has their eyes fixed at topping district and going multiple rounds deep in the playoffs this fall.
“They look in sync, as one, they know each other, you can tell,” she said. “From day one they created a bond and they just seem like one. They run the court together, they run plays — plays that we’ve been practicing all season, they did it in the game tonight, I’m proud of them.”
In the second set, the Lady Apaches’ passing proved to be the difference as the team allowed just eight points.
“Our passing percentages were up,” Orunonyehu explained, “they were to the setters’ hands every single time. That allowed our sets to get the hits that we needed.”
Down 3-2, the Lady Apaches went on an impressive 17-0 run, with Sam Barnick serving and freshman Kristin Baker coming away with nine kills in that set.
“[Baker] has had that potential this whole time, which is why I moved her up to varsity so quick,” Orunonyehu said. “If she plays with that confidence every single team, you’re not only going to see that this game, you’ll see it all through district.”
The first-year head coach also gave props to Madelynn Brown, Hayley Sample, Madison Pirkle and Rachel Staggs for their play on Tuesday. Pirkle and Staggs are the Lady Apache setters who Orunonyehu said, “they probably set the best I’ve seen them set all season.”
A few things the team is working on so they can achieve their district goals include blocking and serve-receive.
“Definitely our blocking,” she said, “we can get some more blocking. We can clean it up a bit. I know it’s there, but I really want them getting it down and getting it over the net. That’s what I’ve been trying to practice every practice, getting those hands over the net so that it’s a definite block and not just a tip. Serve-receive, that comes with passing.
The Lady Apaches have a bye on Friday, then open district play next Tuesday on the road against La Vernia. The game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.