SAN MARCOS - Most times it hard to beat experience and the Shiner Lady Comanches found out just how tough a hill it is to climb against an experienced opponent.
Members of the Shiner Lady Comanches volleyball team receive their state medals Friday after falling to Windthorst 19-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-20 in the state semifinals. The Lady Comanches were making their first trip to the state tournament. Photo Credit: Paul Ebner/Advocate Staff
The fourth-ranked Lady Comanches jump out quickly Friday in trying to climb that mountain against third-ranked Windthorst, but like most inexperienced climbers, soon ran out of breath.
The Trojanettes advanced to their 12th straight Class 1A state volleyball final with a 19-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-20 decision over the Lady Comanches at Strahan Coliseum on the campus of Texas State University.
Windthorst (40-3) advances to Saturday's 9 a.m. championship game against third-ranked Iola. Iola knocked off previously unbeaten and top-ranked Albany 25-17, 25-16, 22-25, 25-14 in the other semifinal. Shiner ends its season at 31-7 after becoming the first Lady Comanches squad to reach the state tournament.
"I was very pleased with the way we played," Shiner coach Michelle Winkenwerder said. "It all came down to serve receive and we didn't get the ball up front where we needed to and we were forced to hit of the net a little too much in the end. When you don't get the ball up front on a good team like Windthorst it can hurt you, and today it did."
The Lady Comanches showed no signs of nerves as they hit the floor and pushed the Trojanettes to the limit, and despite trailing most of the way, pulled out the opening game.
Shiner took a 2-0 lead to open the match behind two Windthorst hitting errors, before Windthorst's Whitney McCorkle slammed down a kill to stop the run.
After Windthorst tied the game at 2, Ieisha Flowers gave the Lady Comanches back the lead with one of her 18 kills. but that would be the last Shiner lead until late in the game.
Behind a kill from Alyssa Strauss and an ace from Flowers the Lady Comanches fought back to tie the game at 17. After a lift call gave the ball to Windthorst with an 18-17 lead, three straight kills from Strauss put the Lady Comanches up for good at 20-18.
Two kills from Shelby Bernshausen and an ace by Amber Shimek put the game away for Shiner.
Windthorst's experience soon showed. The Trojanettes were about to lay down and eventually showed they were not going to be denied.
"They have experience here and we don't," Lady Comanches setter Caitlin Kalich said. "They know the atmosphere and we came out not knowing what was going to happen and I think we played great for the atmosphere we had and for the team we played against."
Kalich had a game-high 45 assists and consistently fed the ball to Flowers, Strauss, Bernshausen and Lauren Haynes for opportunities at the net. The Lady Comanches pounded down five more kills than the Trojanettes, but the Tronjanettes excelled in hitting percentage as the Lady Comanches began struggling in serve receive in the later games.
Shiner stayed close throughout Game 2 and after a 3-0 run, that included two aces by Flowers and a kill from Bernshausen, the Lady Comanches found themselves down just 19-18.
Using kills from Carmen Stallcup and Peytan Teichman the Trojanettes took a 24-19 lead and the even the match on a Stallcup block off an attack by Flowers.
With the momentum back on their side, the Trojanettes would go on to take the next two games to keep their state finals streak alive.
"I don't think it was nerves," said senior Lauren Michalec. "Towards the end we had a lot of trouble with serve receive and couldn't get our passes to Caitlin, so our bigger hitters could go to work. We had a lot of drive and didn't quit, it just wasn't our time."
Paul Ebner is the assistant sports editor for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6507 or by e-mail at email@example.com.