The Lady Bulldogs couldn’t seem to find their rhythm in a 25-17, 25-23, 25-16 loss to San Angelo Central in their second District 2-6A match at the MHS gym.
It was a deflating loss for MHS (13-12, 1-1 in District 2-6A), which started off district play on a high note with a 3-0 sweep of Abilene High last Friday.
The Lady Cats (7-13, 1-1), on the other hand, got a major confidence boost after being swept by Legacy at home in their District 2-6A opener.
“This district is tough,” Central head coach Julie Williams said. “I told them we have to be ready to play every single night. I’m super proud of the way the girls played. They came in here, this is not an easy place to play. It’s very loud. Their student section does a great job in supporting, so this is a tough place to play. To get a road win in this district is always great and I’m super proud of our kids for the way they played tonight.”
The Lady Bulldogs didn’t help their cause in the first set, as they made four straight unforced errors with four attacks that were hit out of bounds. That allowed the Lady Cats to take a 13-9 lead and they never trailed again in the first set.
MHS did respond in the second set, taking an early 11-6 lead following three consecutive kills from senior outside hitter Aniya Clinton.
However, the Lady Bulldogs couldn’t put the Lady Cats away.
A kill by Grace Utter gave MHS a 23-22 advantage in the second set before Central answered with three straight points.
The Lady Bulldogs stumbled into the third set, falling behind 8-1.
Following a pair of blocks by Central’s Emilee Sikora to make it 5-1, MHS had a bad stretch of digging and passing to prolong the damage.
“They just need to have heart,” MHS head coach Bethany Johnstone said. “That’s all there is to it. San Angelo wanted it more than we did and you could tell. They have to make a choice. Are they going to fight for it? Are they just going to lay down and die? That’s what they did today. They didn’t have it in them.”
Clinton had a double-double with a team-best 13 kills along with 14 digs, Samantha Bustos led MHS with 22 digs, and Susana Salcedo tallied a team-best 16 assists.
The Lady Bulldogs will face a test in their next match, as they visit Wolfforth Frenship, the two-time defending district champion, at 5 p.m. Friday.
Follow Christopher on Twitter: @chris_MRTsports
SAN ANGELO CENTRAL DEF. MIDLAND HIGH 25-17, 25-23, 25-16
Midland High statistics
Kills – Aniya Clinton 13, Grace Utter 5, Jamie Swisher 3, Grace Ware 2, Brooke Boehler 2, Desarae Johnson 2, Kaylee Day 2, Bille Ann Brittain 2, Samantha Bustos 1, Emily Moon 1
Digs – Bustos 22, Clinton 14, Madison Zamora 8, Imani Parker 4, Madison Wade 2, Susana Salcedo 2, Ware 1, Swisher 1, Utter 1
Assists – Salcedo 16, Parker 13, Wade 3, Bustos 1