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Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Eagles straighten out game plan, trap Lions

Getting the game plan right took one game to get going Monday night, but the Pecos Eagles were able to come through in time to capture second place in the District 2-4A volleyball standings on Monday with a 9-15, 15-13, 15-10 win over the Clint Lions.

Playing a one-game playoff with Clint in Van Horn for the second year in a row, the Eagles weren't able to take advantage of their chances late in the first game when hitter Collanne Bramblett rotated away from the front line, as the Lions added the final four points onto their 11-9 lead, after going up at the outset by a 4-0 score. But after falling behind early in the final two games with Bramblett up front, Pecos did jump ahead of Clint both times when the 6-foot senior went to the back, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 9-5 lead in Game 2, and outscoring the Lions at the end of Game 3 by a 6-2 margin after getting Bramblett away from the net.

"We did not take advantage in the first game of our chances. That's what I preached to them (after the first game), we have to take advantage when she's in back," said Eagles' coach Becky Granado, who was happy overall with her team's efforts in the final two games.

"She had three kills and she earned them. I think we really stopped her and that was our goal. If we can stop her we can win," she said.

Pecos was also helped by better back line play and serving as the game went on, both of which were problems at the outset. "Our serving came around and that helped, because they were having trouble passing on our serves," Granado said, as the Lions let several balls drop in because their setters were unable to reach the passes from their teammates.

Meanwhile, Clint had problems of their own at the net when Bramblett was on the back line handling Pecos' hitters, especially Stephanie Herrera in the third game. After Clint tied the game one last time on a Laura Martinez block of a Herrera tip, the sophomore scored three of the Eagles' final four points, and closed out the game with a pair of kills.

"Stephanie had an excellent game. I think she was the reason we stayed in the match," Granado said. "She was on tonight, and if the other kids can be on for us (in bi-district), we won't have any problem beating whoever we play."

Pecos never led in the opening game, but rallied twice to tie the score at 8-8 and 9-9. Clint would go up 11-9 on a mishandled serve by Pecos and a block of Leslie Rodriguez by Bramblett, but even the Eagles broke serve and rotated her to the back line they were shut out the rest of the way, while Alba Esparza came up with a tip and kill as part of Clint's final run.

In the second game, Rodriguez came up with Pecos' first point on a spike after Bramblett was off the front line and tied the game on a hit by Herrera, who would have another kill, a back line hit and an ace serve during a 7-1 Eagle run. The Eagles would later rotate Bramblett back to the back line, where her mishandled relay gave Pecos a 14-10 lead. But the Eagles then had problems of their own, as an ace by Hilary Jones and an Esparza kill helped narrow the gap to 14-13 before the Eagles were able to break serve and win off a kill of an overset by Christina Arenivas.

In the deciding game the Eagles answered Clint's 5-0 opening run with a 6-0 streak of their own, going up on a block of Claudia Villanueva by Jessica Rodriguez. The teams the traded the lead four times, with neither one going up by more than one point, before the Eagles took the lead for good on a spike into the net by the Lions' Gilda Victorino.

The win gave Pecos a final district record of 7-4, and a season record of 14-19, while Clint fell to 6-5 and 11-17. The Eagles will now face the El Paso High Tigers in the bi-district round of the Class 4A playoffs, a game Granado said would be played in Pecos, either on Friday or Saturday night.

"They want to play on Friday, but we'll have to see," said Granado, who prefers a Saturday afternoon matchup. "If we can't work something out, we'll just have to have a coin flip."

El Paso High lost a playoff game Monday to El Paso Riverside, 15-6, 16-14, and finished District 1-4A play at 8-3. Riverside, 9-2, will now face 8-2 El Paso Burges tonight, with the losing hosting Clint on Friday or Saturday. The winner will advance to area competition along with District 2-4A champion El Paso Mountain View, which also drew a first round bye.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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