Cardinals survive late push by rivals


Shiner St. Paul needed more than 25 twice as the Lady Cardinals took down their rivals (28-26, 25-23, 21-25, 30-28) in a non-district match against Hallettsville Sacred Heart.

“I think the girls stayed discipline when they needed to,” St. Paul head coach Ashtyn Henkes said. “We made great plays when we needed to. We stayed under control, I think that was a factor in the game, and that was a goal of ours, to stay under control and stay in the moment.”

After a tightly-contested first set, the Lady Cardinals began the second set much slower down 10-6 early on. The team overcame the deficit, taking advantage of well-placed serves by Grace Prove to go on a 10-0 run.

“That’s kind of been the story of our team so far,” Henkes explained. “We kind of like to get ourselves into big ruts and figure it out. It’s scary at times, but the girls have been able to, more so than none, come out of the hole and figure it out. I always tell them to be mentally tough, so that’s what they’ve been.”

Down 17-12 in the third seat, the Lady Cardinals again went on a big run, scoring nine straight to take the 21-17 lead. Sacred Heart rallied back, scoring the final eight points to win 25-21.

The third set was the longest of the game, with St. Paul needing 30 points to knock off Sacred Heart. Down 28-27, the Lady Cardinals scored three straight, including two aces from Danni Blair, to end the game winning three sets to one.

Despite the slow start at times, Henkes gave credit to many of her players, including her setters Danni Blair and Mallory Pokluda, who “did a great job getting the ball where it needed to go.” “Paige Brown came out and had some great serves and Grace Prove had some great serves as well,” Henkes added. “Cameron [Pesek] was putting some balls away that we really need and Ashlyn [Pesek], our freshman, really stepped up today too. It was fun.”

Henkes did note that the team will need to fix those mistakes if they are to be playoff contenders.

“Staying consistent throughout the game, not letting ourselves get in those big holes and having to rally out of it, that’s a point of emphasis for us,” Henkes said.

The Lady Cardinals host Yorktown on Friday for a 4:30 p.m. match. On Tuesday, they travel to play against San Antonio Legacy at 6 p.m.