It only took 3 sets, 25-19, 25-19, 25-17, for the Hays Lady Rebels volleyball team to secure a victory Friday night over the Vista Ridge Rangers in Bales Gym.
Although the Lady Rebels never once relinquished the lead and were able to win in straight sets, Friday night’s matchup was consistently competitive.
“We have great respect for Vista Ridge,” said Hays head coach Samantha Coates. “If you go back and look at their scores throughout district, they’re win loss record is very, very deceiving. They are a much better team than what their record shows, and our girls knew that coming in.”
In each of the three sets the storylines were shockingly similar. Hays would jump out to an early lead forcing Vista Ridge head coach Holly Lamb to call a timeout. And, after every timeout, Vista Ridge seemed to find a source of energy, gain momentum and begin to chip away at Hays’ lead.
When asked about how her timeouts affected the game, Vista Ridge head coach Holly Lamb said she thought her team came out flat and was repeatedly telling them to match Hays energy and aggressiveness.
“They’re a very aggressive team,” said Lamb. “They’re very offensive and our ball control just broke down tonight. They were serving us pretty aggressive and our ball control broke down and we couldn’t get our offense flowing like we usually do.”
In set one the Lady Rangers battled back from 13-6 to make it 15-14, in set two they rallied from a 12-7 deficient to put the score 20-19 and in set three they went down 7-2 early yet again rallied, cutting the lead down to only two in three instances.
In spite of these huge momentum swings, the Rebels were able to maintain their composure and rely on both aggressive offense and relentless defense to close out each set.
When games are close as this one was, coaches are constantly looking for alternative ways to gain a competitive advantage. What the Rebels coach does to accomplish both a competitive advantage and increase player safety is she shortens the bench, so the majority of the Lady Rebels are standing throughout the entirety of the game.
“The rule is that if chairs are available, players have to sit,” said Coates. “Personally, as a coach, I think that it helps them stay warmer, and not get tight. There’s not that fear of that hamstring that as they’re sitting down shortens up just a little then they go out, make a big move for a ball and get hurt, so I just think it’s safer for them.”
Hays is 12-4 this season at home, so as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
The Lady Rebels next matchup is on Tuesday in Bales Gym against the state ranked (19) Westlake Chaparrals.
BUDA – After falling to the Rebels 62-55 earlier in the season, the Canyon Cougars earned revenge Tuesday night in Bales gym beating Hays by a score of 61-40.
“It was a great win for us,” Canyon head coach Allen Miller said. “To be honest, we’re 2-4 coming into tonight, and we really haven’t been playing good, so getting a ‘W’ is nice.”
A competitive and contentious first half ended with a 21-23 score in favor of Canyon. Although Hays was getting out rebounded, the Cougars repeatedly missed open shots helping keep the Rebels in the game.
Although the Cougars outsized the Rebels at a majority of positions, first year head coach Matt Sandoval did not accept that as a valid excuse for being out-hustled rebounding. Sandoval said that in the previous matchup his team out-rebounded Canyon, and had a brief, pragmatic answer regarding their lack of performance on the boards tonight.
“Desire,” said Sandoval. “Go up and get the ball off the rim.”
Canyon’s two-point advantage grew to a nine point lead, which soon became a 20 point beat down as their shots, particularly three-pointers, that weren’t falling in the first half began to fall in the second.
After going just 3-13 from deep in the first half, the Cougars were able to go 6-12 from three-point range in the second to swing momentum in their direction. Cougars point guard Zach Mckee hit 4 three pointers on the night, including two back-to-back three’s in the 4th quarter to help put the Rebels away.
In a game against San Marcos earlier in the season, the Cougars went 0-3 from three-point range, leading to their coach making a plea for three’s.
“I told them, we got to at least shoot some three’s,” said Miller. “You know the game has evolved to the point where everyone’s shooting three’s. They’re worth more.”
Other key offensive contributors for the cougars include #2, J.C. Jarrett who had 11 points on the game, seven of which came in the fourth quarter. #35, Trevor Pape also had six points and two rebounds.
Offensively for the Rebels, #25 Charles Bohannon had 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Luke Watson and Dawson Moreland each added six points.
On the defensive side of the ball, Canyon stayed in a 3-2 zone for the entire game, while Hays rotated between a zone and a full-court press when the lead began to mount.
Although the zone was highly effective for the Cougars, Miller admitted the move had nothing to do with a strategic advantage against the Rebels. Instead he used the opportunity for practice for when conference play begins for the cougars.
“We’re trying to limit teams to one shot per possession,” said Miller. “Once we start getting into district a lot of these teams are going to want to play fast, and we feel as if the zone will slow people down, hopefully.”
The Hays Rebels are back in action Tuesday December 6 as they travel to Anderson to take on the 2-2 Trojans.
HAYS- The Hays Rebels defeated the Leander Lions in straight sets (25-18, 25-22, 25-20) Tuesday night in Bales Gym.
Although the Rebels were able to win the match in straight sets, the match was highly competitive throughout.
“Hard fought game,” Head Coach Stephanie Coates said. “Those kids play with so much energy, we knew coming into tonight it was going to be a defensive battle.
In the first set the Lions jumped out to an early lead while Hays appeared lackluster to start. However, after finding themselves tied at 13, Hays found their rhythm, finishing the set on a 12-5 run.
The second set was more of the same with Leander coming out of the blocks strong and Hays trying to play catch up. After finding themselves down 5 early, Coates called a quick timeout. Hays answered their coaches’ call with a 7-1 run to tie the game at 14.
“Anytime we come out of a timeout our goal is to push three points. That’s something we’ve practiced and practiced,” Coates said. “You want to drive the nail in.”
Leander kept it competitive, but the Rebels cleaned up their mistakes and were able to finish the game on a 5-2 run.
“We knew we were gonna have to work hard on our ball control cause they’re also a great serving team,” Coates said. “And that showed tonight with our ball control, our serving numbers were down tonight.”
By the third set Hays had found their groove. Leander was relentless in their effort, but Hays’ combination of size and power proved too much in the end.
“I think our outsides just swing with a little more power than what they got, but at the same time when they’re picking everything up, it keeps you on your toes,” Coates said.
Senior Hailee Morton, #11, led the rebels attack and defense with 9 kills and 9 digs. Senior Ashley Slovak, #4, also recorded 9 digs.
The Hays Rebels are back in action Friday night as they take on Lake Travis High at 6:30 in Bales Gym.