When the final tally was over, PSJA Memorial defeated PSJA North on the road Saturday in straight sets – 25-18, 25-22, 25-21.
It wasn’t an easy victory, however, for the Lady Wolverines, who gave up big leads twice to keep two sets close and trailed until late in the second set before a 4-1 run earned them the victory.
Still, a win is a win and for North, ranked No. 5 in the 956sports.com most recent top 10 poll, it was their 23rd win of the season (23-5 overall) and, more importantly, a season-opening win in district play.
“PSJA played a very good game. They were being very strategic,” said PSJA Head Coach Angie Gonzales. “I think we played a pretty sloppy game but we continued to fight and pulled through. It seems like we had our backs against the wall a few times.”
Memorial jumped out to a convincing lead in the first game behind some strong serves and North passing errors. The Lady Raiders worked their way back into the set by attacking corners and trying to keep the Lady Wolverines deep. It worked as PSJA Memorial didn’t quite find its rhythm at the net offensively throughout the set.
“They were tipping the ball over a lot and played very strategic against us,” Gonzales said. “We have a tendency to mirror the other team so a lot of times they would tip the ball over and we would tip it right back. I don’t like playing that game.”
In the third set, however, that same style of play came back to help PSJA Memorial.
“We were trying to find out what their weakness was – they were very quick,” Gonzales said. “But we were able to find a soft spot and tipped some balls to get some easy points.We had our girls play deeper and cover the lines and that usually forces the other team to go to the middle.”
Libero Victoria Maldonado, however, had the middle covered and helped the Lady Wolverines come back from a 21-18 deficit in game two and jump out to an 8-3 lead in the third set.
“My girls kept their composure and did a great job coming back,” Gonzales said. “But PSJA North played a very good game. They were putting the ball in places that a lot of times get overlooked and made make some strategic moves. Our girls were able to maximize on some small things. I’m happy with the outcome but wish it would be cleaner.”
Kristi Gomez had 12 kills, two blocks, three digs and four aces to lead PSJA Memorial while Deserey Gomez added five kills, eight assists two blocks and an ace. Maldonado registered a team leading 10 digs and Valerie Guajardo contributed 13 assists, five digs and an ace.
PSJA returns to action Tuesday at home against Edinburg Economedes.