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Palmer VB tops Ferris, 3-1

Setters excel, Bulldogs end Jax streak
Sunday, August 14, 2022
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Palmer opened the season with a superb effort in a 3-1 win at Ferris on Tuesday. The Lady Bulldogs won 25-17, lost 16-25, and then bounced back to win 25-18 and 25-20. They made few errors and played cohesively in every game except the second, when the host Yellowjackets pieced together several solid runs led by Arienna Jefferson.

The difference appeared to be Palmer’s ability to handle the Ferris service game. It led to accurate passes to their experienced duo of senior setters, Cambry Cortez and Alexis Villasenor. After an 11-19 campaign last fall, the El-B’s (Lady Bulldogs) played efficiently, if not spectacularly, to upset a Jackets team clearly out-of-sync. Ferris posted a 24-10 mark a year ago, and returned several key veterans like Jefferson, their sophomore standout. She had her moments, but the Stingers’ passing attack was awry.

“I was pleased with how our fundamentals looked,” said Palmer HC Melanie Barnes. “We were placing the ball well. But I was mostly impressed with how we functioned as a whole. There weren’t many weak points in our teamwork.”

Ferris had dominated the three previous meetings, each to begin the season. Palmer last won in 2018. The Bulldogs hosted Boles on Friday, Aug. 12, while Ferris clashed with 6A power, Duncanville.

Villasenor and Cortez accounted for 15 and 11 assists, respectively, with sophomore Samantha Maddox the top beneficiary with 10 kills. Junior middle blocker Emily Barnard led net defenders with 6 blocks while Morgan Zabojnik, a senior libero, was busy throughout. She patrolled the middle and kept rallies alive by making 20 digs.

Two other players cited by Barnes were junior Araceli Rodriguez and Chloe Cisneros, a senior. “Araceli refused to let the ball hit the floor,” said the fourthyear head coach, “and Chloe had an allaround game.” The tandem of Villasenor and Cortez got it done. Good hands and court vision combined to feed their teammates, whose attacks targeted the middle of the Ferris defense.

Jackets HC Kyla Menefee played an active rotation in search of chemistry. They will weather a few matches panning for the right combination.

Ferris, Palmer VB Sked

The Jackets return home on Tuesday, Aug. 16, when Mexia (0-2) visits at 6 p.m. Palmer plays in a tournament on Aug. 18-19.

Ennis rolls to three wins

An influx of new starters has instilled early confidence into HC Kelly Henderson’s Lady Lions. They opened the season on Thursday in Fairfield for a twoday (Th, Sat) tournament. Ennis swept three teams, all in 2-0 wins, before hosting Hillcrest on Friday, Aug. 12.

The glaring focus in the opening weeks will be establishing an improved passing game, which in turn, should help with setting the table for frontline hitters. Henderson liked what she saw in the team’s two setters.

“Makena Martinez and Peyton Bruce both looked great,” she said on Friday. “Their serving was outstanding.” A year ago, the team had their moments, but double-contact errors in set-attempts were called too often for any stretch of precision hitting.

Henderson mentioned three others who were improved and who contributed solid plays. Junior Mackenzie Pierce and Taia Humphrey, a senior, delivered plenty of big kills from the outside.

A pleasant surprise was Payton Prachyl. The senior “stepped up nicely in the libero position,” according to Henderson. Prachyl enjoyed a productive offseason, recently earning Ennis Athlete of the Week honors.

Lady Lions home matches

Fans of the bump-pass-and-kill will have opportunities to support the Ennis varsity with three home dates over the next 10 days: Aug. 16 vs. South Oak Cliff, Aug. 19 vs. Arlington Seguin and Aug. 23 vs. Mesquite.

taly, Avalon VB action

Rebuilding Italy dropped their first match, 3-1, at Blooming Grove. This coming week, the Lady Gladiators play at an out-of-town tournament. They do not return home until Aug. 30 against Rice.

As for Avalon, new HC Megan Allred and the Lady Eagles play at home on Tuesday, Aug. 16.