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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Tornadoes serve up win over Eagles in playoffs

Staff Writer

The Pecos Eagles had trouble with Ashley Hunter as a hitter.  But not as much trouble as they had with Hunter as a server.

The Lamesa Golden Tornado front line player scored several times off kills in both games of Tuesday's bi-district playoff match against the Eagles, including the first and final kills for points of the night for the Tors. But it was Pecos' problems handling Hunter's serves when she moved to the back line that allowed Lamesa to take control of the match early, as they went on to a 15-4, 15-3 win over Pecos at the Odessa Ector Junior High gym.

L'Rynah Kirkland had an even better streak than Hunter, serving out 14 straight points in Game 2 after Pecos had taken a 3-0 lead. But the Eagles were mostly able to handle Kirkland's serves, though they weren't able to do anything on offense. In Game 1, Hunter went back to serve with Lamesa leading 8-4 and proceeded to score two straight points on aces, and then saw the Eagles mishandle her next five serves to seal the victory for the Tors.

"I asked their coach if that's the way she served all season and she said `no'," said Eagles' coach Becky Granado, who added that the Eagles were unable to recover in either game, once problems began.

"I thought in the second game when we came back and got a 3-0 lead we would be OK, but then we make one mistake and just fall apart," she said. "We just dwell too much on our mistakes instead of just letting it go."

Pecos led early in both games. Their lead was brief in Game 1, at 1-0 after Jessica Martinez blocked Jade Beaty. But the Eagles then allowed a free ball on a set to fall to the floor, and Lamesa took the lead on a spike past the back line by Martinez and a kill by Hunter.

Beaty and Leslie Rodriguez traded kills, before the Tors ran off four straight points on a misplayed serve by the Eagles and kills from Hunter, Julee Meador and Brittany Roberts. But a bad serve by the Tors and unforced errors by Meador and Roberts cut the margin back to 7-4 before the Eagles fell apart on the service reception.

"They had more height than I expected, but we didn't pass the ball, and when you can't pass you can't run any kind of offense," Granado said. "That's what frustrates the girls, because we can pass, so we can't set up anything.

Hunter would end the match with an ace serve, but before then it was the Eagles' unforced errors that allowed Lamesa to pile up the points with Kirkland serving, after Pecos jumped ahead at the outset.

The Eagles' early 3-0 came on two Lamesa errors and a spike of an overset by Martinez. But Lamesa tied it on bad hits by Stephanie Herrera and Mindi Harrison and a block out of bounds by Harrison on Hunter, and took the lead on a kill by Roberts that was blocked out of bounds by Rodriguez.

From there, seven of Lamesa's next nine points came off unforced errors by Pecos, as the Eagles were called for setting violations and hit the ball into the net three times apiece. Hunter's kills accounted for the Tors' other two points, and she finished off the game with her third ace after Lamesa was called for a net violation their first time at match point.

"When you play in fear there's no way you can do anything," Granado said. "I had four girls who had playoff experience, but to look at us out there, it didn't look like anyone had been in the playoffs."

It was the second time in the past seven seasons the Eagles have been eliminated by Lamesa. They were ousted by the Tors in 1996, in the area round of the Class 4A playoffs. Tuesday's win moved Lamesa to 27-8 on the year and sends the Tors into a Region I-3A quarterfinal match-up next week against the winner of this Saturday's Monahans-Perryton match-up in Lubbock. The Loboes, who won the District 4-3A title and drew a first round bye, defeated Wink in a playoff practice game on Tuesday for their 30th win on the season.

The Eagles close out their season with a 14-16 record, after finishing third in District 4-3A with a 4-6 mark. Martinez, Harrison and Erica Franco are the graduating seniors off this year's team, while Granado said she would have seven other players coming back in 2003.

"I only lose Jessica, Mindi and Erica, but the others will have to dedicate themselves in the summer if they want to get better," said Granado. "That's something I can't force them to do during the summer, it will have to come from them."

The district's second place team, Midland Greenwood, also was swept out of their playoffs in their bi-district match on Tuesday. The Rangerettes lost in Andrews to District 3-3A's third place team, Seminole, by 15-12, 15-2 scores.

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Pecos Enterprise
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