GONZALES — Last season, this game would have been a loss for the Lady Apaches.
Down 15-9 in the first set, exhausted from heavy schedule last week, Gonzales needed a spark to turn things around.
Turns out, they found their spark through multiple sources as Lady Apache after Lady Apache stepped in during their 8-2 run to tie the set at 17, before finally taking the 21-20 lead and ultimately winning the set 25-20. Gonzales never let up, winning the game in three sets, (25-22, 25-14, 25-16).
“Boy that was a great game,” Gonzales head coach Sam White said. “We hadn’t beaten Luling in a while. I told the girls before the game, we got to take care of this game. This game’s huge for us.”
“Luling is a good team, honestly” White added. “I watched them on film against La Grange. They played La Grange very well. I knew it was going to be a fight. I’m very proud of our girls taking this in three. They needed it. Again, they put a lot of work last week. It was important they took care of business today.”
According to White, the Lady Apaches played 22 sets last week, so exhaustion could have played a factor in the slow start.
“Some of it was, we’re running a new offense,” White explained. “We’re running a different offense than last week. They’re adjusting to that a little bit.”
The Lady Apaches scored on a total of 32 kills from seven different attackers in their three-set sweep. The new offense, under the leadership of Kiley Allen, Gonzales’ main setter, allows for anyone to contribute.
“That’s been something I’ve been pushing the last week or so,” White said. “We need everybody on the offense. Everybody can hit the ball, it doesn’t have to be just one person or two people, or [just] on the front row. We need to swing from the back row. We need to move the ball around. That’s one thing Kiley Allen is doing, she’s running the offense doing a great job moving the ball around.”
Another player who stepped up in tonight’s game was Chelsea Hastings, a senior who contributed both in the front row and during serves.
“[Hastings] was huge in getting us back in that first game.”
White also credited Hayley Sample, Rachel Staggs, Sam Barnick, Maura Garcia and Peyton Ruddock as contributors in Tuesday’s game.
“Really, everybody contributed in a large way,” White said. “Even our bench, when they came in to give others some rest, they came in and did a huge job.”
On Luling’s side, the Lady Eagles started off strong, but after that initial 15-9 lead, the visitors could not get more than three points in a row throughout the rest of the match.
This week, Gonzales travels to Cuero for a three-day tournament, then travel again to Karnes City on Tuesday, Aug. 28 for a non-district bout at 6:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Luling has a two-day SMH tournament that starts Friday, then hosts Pettus on Aug. 28 with a scheduled start of 6 p.m.
José Torres is the managing editor for the Gonzales Inquirer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.