CAPTION: The Marble Falls High School volleyball celebrates a come-from-behind victory against Killeen High Aug. 23. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
The Marble Falls High School volleyball team added another first to its list of accomplishments for the 2022 season.
The Lady Mustangs overcame a two-set deficit to beat Killeen High 3-2 Aug. 23. In the process, Marble Falls stared down an eight-point deficit and two match points in the third set to win it 26-24 to force another game. In the end, Marble Falls won the match 19-25, 16-25, 26-24, 25-21, 15-13.
Junior outside hitter Sadie Harris set a new program record with 21 kills in the contest. The old record was 14. While Harris was the most productive hitter, she wasn’t the only one. Eight of her teammates, including 12 kills by junior middle blocker Alexis Dalton, recorded kills, which the kept the Lady Roos off balance defensively. Add in the “nothing-hits-the-floor” mentality from the defensive specialists led by seniors Ciah Denney and Brie Kingsbury, and Harris noted the victory was the result of belief and trust in one another and the desire not to let down your teammates down.
“One of the big parts is getting the other team down,” she said. “We can use that energy and build us from there. In that third set, I think you could tell that energy was so big. You could feel the energy. I love our setters. We have that connection that’s so great. They keep making me want to put the ball down. They put the ball where it needs to be.”
Head coach Kait Goertz noted long rallies were part of this match, and Marble Falls won most of them.
“Those are big momentum shifts if you can win most of those rallies,” she said. “They lead to a three- or four-point run. When you come out of it, you just want to put that ball down. You just don’t want to quit.”
Both noted those rallies don’t happen without a determined defense. Denney, Kingsbury, junior Leah Nash and others dived for numerous balls, fell forward to dig them, and sometimes were falling backward to make a pass to the setters. Harris said those defensive plays make hitters more determined to win the point. Goertz said what she appreciated most was seeing her athletes display the chemistry she has been witnessing.
“They all did their jobs,” she said.
Part of that was knowing where Killeen senior middle blocker Julia Jurewicz was lined up. Jurewicz is the Lady Roos’ power hitter. Goertz contacted Llano head coach Tanya Powers, who is the former Lady Mustangs coach, for a scouting report. The Lady Jackets defeated Killeen at the Gatesville tournament over the weekend. Powers wasn’t shy about sharing what Llano discovered, which helped a great deal, Goertz said.
Earlier this season, Marble Falls beat Austin Northeast in straight sets, a first for the Lady Mustangs since the 2018 season, which tells coaches they are on the right track.
“We’re changing the mentality here,” Goertz said. “We’re finding our rhythm, we’re controlling the speed of the game, and we’re doing what we want.”