With the district schedule fast approaching, the Navarro Lady Panthers are tuning up against very good competition.
Their most recent foe was New Braunfels Christian on Tuesday.
The Ladycats came into the contest 19-2 and fought in a tight and tense four-set contest against the Lady Panthers. Navarro eventually came out on top 3-1, improving to 16-6 on the season, but it wasn’t easy.
“They’re a very good team, very athletic,” head coach Nicole Blakeman said. “We’ll play them again on Thursday, they’re in the same pool as we are in the tournament, and I expect that to be a very tight match too.”
It was Navarro’s second tough match in as many games, as they walked away with a come-from-behind, five-set win over Incarnate Word last Friday to keep this latest win streak, now at three, alive.
Senior hitter Kelly Helms was a force throughout the game, using her size and court savvy to get big points in the match.
Helms sparked the Lady Panthers to several runs in the game, as Navarro went up 2-0 after the first two sets, 25-19 and 25-14.
“She’s been playing well,” Blakeman said. “We’re excited because it’s her senior year, her senior season. There are times I tell her to just take over the match. She’s a smart hitter, a smart player, and she sees things on the floor. It’s fun to watch her come into her own, especially for her senior season — hopefully she will continue.”
Helms would account for 24 kills in the match and Navarro’s only two blocks in the contest.
The Ladycats came storming back in the third set, eventually coming out with a 26-24 win, and forcing a fourth set.
“I told the girls that they had the momentum and we had to grab the momentum back,” Blakeman said. “I can’t stress enough how big momentum is in volleyball. It’s huge to have a crowd, and the cheerleaders, and people yelling — anything to help get that momentum.”
The Lady Panthers got the momentum back in the decisive fourth set, as Helms had several kills, and the defensive play of Carolyn Burch, Ashley Gosch and Nellie Brumley saved several points on the way to a 25-16 win.
All three had numerous digs to keep points alive throughout the night, with Burch and Gosch collecting 29 and 30 digs, respectively, while Brumley chipped in with 19.
“Our ball control is the key to our success, and I have three excellent defensive players,” Blakeman said. “Carolyn is the leader as our libero, but Nellie and Ashley both are excellent. There are games we are in strictly because of them, they fling they’re bodies everywhere and keep the ball alive.”
Sara Benner had 10 kills, while Berklee Andrews and Madison McCaig contributed with seven each. The Lady Panthers had 16 aces in the match.
Navarro is back in action today at the San Antonio Christian tournament. District play begins next Friday at Poteet.
The Lady Bulldogs won Tuesday night’s match in Karnes City in three sets, 25-16, 25-9 and 25-12, to improve to 12-10 on the season.
The girls rode the hot serving of Hayley Mabee, Ingrid Nava and Madison Doss to collect 19 aces on the night, 10 alone in the fist set. Mabee, Nava and Doss had seven, four and four aces, respectively on the night.
“Hayley went on a really strong streak, she was serving for seven straight points, and Madyson Schulze went on a 10-point streak in the second set,” head coach Taylor Creamer said. Nava served for nine straight points in the third set.
“Those three were all really strong serving for us in the game,” Creamer said.
Lizzie Abrameit had an all-around game, getting four kills, nine assists, six digs and an ace. Mabee and Nava chipped in defensively with 11 and nine digs each.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Lady Bulldogs.
Marion has a bye on Friday. The Lady Bulldogs will travel next Tuesday to Stockdale to face the Lady Brahams. The Lady Bulldogs are three weeks away from the district opener against Ingram, Sept. 27 at home.
The Lady Mats traveled to Wagner and fell 1-3 in their second match of the district season. The girls fell to Kerrville Tivy last Friday, and are now 0-2 in district and 10-17 overall.
Against Wagner, Seguin won the fist set 25-16 before dropping the last three, 19-25, 16-25, 22-25.
Taylor Bode led the way with 11 kills, while Julianna Harrington added seven.
Defensively, libero Amasti Canales had 31 digs, with Riley Brittain adding 20, and Leslie Muenchow and Brinley Beicker getting 14 and 13 each.