SHINER - In front of a raucous home crowd, the Shiner Lady Comanche volleyball team kept its district record perfect with a sweep of defending 1A state champion Louise on Tuesday.
Shauntae Hights had 12 kills and Cassie Stafford helped out with 20 assists in Shiner's 25-20, 25-18, 25-21 District 29-1A win.
"They were disciplined, they did what they needed to do, what we worked on in practice. We went out and we executed," said Shiner coach Michelle Winkenwerder.
The win gives the Lady Comanches a season sweep of Louise. Although beating a tough district opponent, who went all the way last year, should give a team a lift heading down the stretch, Shiner knows it can't let these two wins go to their heads.
"They won the state championship last year, but you can't look at that," Winkenwerder said. "You have to play the here and the now."
Although the stat line of four blocks, three kills and two assists may not stand out on paper, the spark that Laurie Morkovsky provided coming off the bench in the "jumbo package" tilted the game in Shiner's favor.
After going on a 9-4 run to close out Game 1, the Lady Comanches trailed 14-12 in Game 2. Morkovsky gave Shiner a lift to pull even at 15 and one of her key kills gave Shiner a 19-16 lead they wouldn't look back on in the middle frame.
"When I come off the bench for the jumbo set, I just like to go out there and pump everybody up. I fill that spot in the middle and I'm there to help them out as much as they need," Morkovsky said.
Added Winkenwerder: "She did a marvelous job tonight, she had key blocks at key moments. She did what she needed to do."
Louise coach Bryan Branch said he wants to see his team get more consistent and cut down on opponents' runs such as the 9-4, 9-3 and 8-4 runs Shiner went on to close out the three game set Tuesday.
"We put ourselves in a hole, dig ourselves out, we put ourselves back in and against a team like Shiner you can't do that because they're just a little more consistent than us right now," Branch said.
Branch was pleased with the effort his team gave compared to the last time the two teams met and tipped his cap to first place Shiner.
"We didn't lose because of a matter of effort, we lost on a matter that the other team was better," Branch said.
The Lady Hornets were led by Katie Brown's 14 kills and Kaleigh Kutac's 25 assists.
Louise's Jessica Arledge added two aces to her Advocate-area leading total of 70 on Tuesday to go along with six digs in the win.
Shiner's home crowd helped the Lady Comanches build momentum and close out Louise Tuesday.
"It's really, really awesome. They're always here making signs, painting their faces. That really, really builds our confidence," Ashley Shimek said.
Shimek finished with eight kills, three blocks and three digs.
The win improves Shiner's overall record to 20-6 and the Lady Comanches go for their seventh district win Friday when they host Prairie Lea. Meanwhile the loss drops the Lady Hornets district record to 3-3 and they look to get back over .500 and closer to a playoff birth Friday at home against Ganado.
GAME STATISTICSDistrict 29-1A 1 2 3 4 5 Final Louise 20 18 21 x x 0 Shiner 25 25 25 x x 3 HIGHLIGHTS: Louise Highlights: Katie Brown, 14 kills, 3 blocks, 2 aces; Diana Garcia, 5 digs; Lauren Hlavaty, 9 kills; Shelby Kotulek, 4 kills, 2 blocks; Kaleigh Kutac, 25 assists; Kelsi Kutac, 12 digs. Shiner Highlights: Jessica Arledge, 2 aces, 5 kills, 2 blocks, 6 digs; Randi Berkovsky, 5 digs; Danielle Curtis, 4 kills, 5 blocks; Shauntae Hights, 12 kills; Hilary Jaehne, 7 digs; Laurie Morkovsky, 3 kills, 2 assists, 4 blocks; Ryah Michalec, 5 digs; Ashley Shimek, 3 aces, 8 kills, 3 blocks, 3 digs; Cassie Stafford, 20 assists. Records: Louise (3-3), Shiner 20-6 (6-0)
Albert Alvarado is a sports reporter for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6509 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.