By HENRY MILLER
In the sports realms there are big games and important games. They don’t always go hand-in-hand.
The girls volleyball matchup between McHi and McAllen Memorial was definitely both. Won by Memorial in straight sets, this match maybe carried a little more importance on the Memorial side. They had already lost to McHi earlier in the year, dropping the best-of-three match in a tournament after winning the first set. The Lady Mustangs were quickly defeated in the deciding set 15-2.
Memorial outside hitter Taylor Marburger said she kept reminding her teammates in the huddle of that convincing loss, encouraging her team to remain focused and keep playing as they had been during Saturday’s showdown of two top-20 ranked teams in the Texas Class 6A Division.
The importance of the match wasn’t necessarily for the moment, however. Memorial Head Coach Lorena Lopez said it was crucial for her team’s confidence who, despite being 29-3, sometimes struggles with that aspect of the game.
“Sometimes we just don’t play with confidence,” she said following the match. “I hope they take a lot of confidence away from this – they believed in each other. I hope they can see they can go the distance.”
By virtue of the three-set win, which snapped McHi’s (30-2) 30-match win streak and extended their own win streak to nine straight, the Lady Mustangs moved up to the No. 1 ranking in this week’s 956sports.com Top 10 Poll.
“We knew we were playing a great team in McHi but we had a game plan and we needed to stick to it,” said Memorial middle hitter Jocelynn Everage, who registered a game high 14 kills and disrupted a taller McHi team defensively at the net. “We wanted to keep pushing the whole way through and never give up, whether we were winning or behind. We tried to run a faster offense and mix it up some more – we played a lot smarter.”
The two teams will play one more time in the regular season on Oct. 11 at McHi. Before that, however both schools still have another McAllen powerhouse to contend with in the Lady Warriors of Nikki Rowe.
Speaking of big and important games, when it comes to District 31-6A one of the premiere matchups takes place on Tuesday as PSJA Memorial, ranked No. 5, travels to No. 3 Edinburg Vela.
Following is the 956sports.com High School Volleyball Top 10:
1 – McAllen Memorial
2 – McHi
3 – Edinburg Vela
4 – Mission Veterans
5 – PSJA Memorial
6 – Sharyland
7 – Edcouch- Elsa
8 – Nikki Rowe
9 – Los Fresnos
10 – Edinburg