FLATONIA — Losing 25-4 in the first set was less than ideal for the Waelder Lady Wildcats. When seeing a score like that, usually that’s an indicator that the game would be finished in three sets. But Waelder proved again that they aren’t the pushovers of old, forcing five sets against their district opponents, the Flatonia Lady Bulldogs. They would end up losing to Flatonia (25-4, 13-25, 25-10, 21-25, 15-5), but the game was just another indication that the team is progressing to new heights.
“Normally, we’re known for our late start,” Waelder head coach Martha Zuniga said of the first set. “We’re going to chalk that up to our late start. We’ve gotten better to it being only the first couple of points, but that game, I just don’t think we were ready to play.”
Despite the early loss, the Lady Cats kept the pace in the second set, getting as close to being up 7-6 Before unleashing a whopping 13-3 run to go up 20-9 before a Flatonia timeout was called.
“We were doing everything right at the time,” Zuniga said. “We were passing well, we were serving well, we were hitting well, we had a lot of kills at that point. Our sets were good, our passers were doing an excellent job passing the ball, digging things up, Ke’Shaya [Moore], of course, our libero was doing a great job digging the ball. Laisha [Rangel was great], Ashlynn [Noyola] was doing a great job calling for help, and Honesty [Fields] stepped up and had quite a few kills there. I think in that game alone we didn’t miss but one or two serves. That was a big thing for us.”
After finishing with the 12-point win, the Lady Cats fell to another hole in the third set to lose by 15 and then again in the fifth set where down 7-4 they gave up eight straight points before finally scoring a point.
“We stopped talking,” Zuniga said. “By talking I mean having enthusiasm. The girls have prided themselves on being excited the entire game and having that enthusiasm you need to have at all times, even when you do something wrong, they’re learning how to bounce back from an error.
For us at times we got down and we stayed down and didn’t dig ourselves back up. The court got quiet for us.”
Even with the loss, Zuniga believes her team is learning how to battle back.
“We’ve been there neck-and-neck with almost every team that we’ve played,” she said. “The girls are surprising a lot of people, doing great things at the right times. We’re coming up and taking games 25-13 and pushing five games with district teams that we used to only go three games with. The girls are just really doing a great job of pushing and making sure that they keep trying no matter what and giving it 100 percent all the time.”
Waelder travels to Shiner today for a 4 p.m. game.