Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, August 28, 2000
Eagles rally to win tournament
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Aug. 28, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles worked hard to get the present
they wanted for head coach Becky Granado Saturday night, and couldn't wait
to show it to her once they got it.
The `present' in this case was the championship trophy for the Pecos
Cantaloupe Classic Volleyball Tournament, which the team presented to Granado
at her family's home shortly after the Eagles won their first title in
three years with a three-game victory over the Seminole Maidens.
"They wanted to be able to take coach Granado the trophy," said coach
Veronica Valenzuela, who has subbed for Granado since the Eagles' first
pre-season scrimmage on Aug. 11. Granado's father suffered a heart attack
that day and died Friday morning, just before the start of the Cantaloupe
To get the trophy the Eagles had to survive a series of letdowns after
opening game victories, and had to endure the heat, due to a broken air-conditioning
system at the Pecos High School gym, something they had problems coping
with earlier in the week at Midland.
"They thought I was doing it on purpose," Valenzuela said of the hot
conditions in the gym. "I said I had nothing to do with it."
The Eagles were fast starters in all of their Saturday matches, winning
15-5 over El Paso Parkland in the morning, 15-7 over Wink in the afternoon
and 15-4 over Seminole in the championship game. But all three times, the
Eagles struggled in Game 2, though Parkland wasn't able to take advantage
of their mistakes in the quarterfinal match. Pecos won that one, 15-9,
but then lost to the Wildcats by a 16-14 score and fell to the Maidens,
The Eagles were able to regroup in Game 3 against Wink, and trailed
only once, at 2-1, on the way to a 15-6 victory. But the title game against
Seminole was a much bigger struggle, as Pecos had problems finding openings
in the early going against the quicker Maidens, and fell behind by 8-3
and 11-6 scores.
But by the time the Maidens got to within three points of winning the
match, at 12-8, both teams had run out of substitutions and had a stick
with the same six players. That worked out to the Eagles' advantage, as
their six seniors were able to hold down their mistakes, while Seminoles
underclassmen had their problems at the end.
Pearle Dale and Sarah Hill had three bad spikes, while Katie Hughes
failed to move in time for a free ball during a 5-1 Pecos run. Alexa Marquez
added a kill during the stretch, while a missed spike by Raeanne Villalva
tied the game at 12-12.
Seminole was able to break serve and take one last lead on an ace by
Dale, but the Eagles got the serve back and tied the game on a bad set
by Hill, then took a 14-13 lead on a spike of a bad Seminole relay by Philly
Fobbs. The Eagles missed chance to win the game once, allowing a free ball
tap by Hill to fall inbounds, and saw Seminole tie the game when an Ashley
Salcido spike sailed out of bounds, but once more Pecos was able to break
serve and this time won on two Maidens' errors, as Hill and Dale let a
free ball fall on a mix-up over a spike attempt, and Hughes' back line
hit then hovered on the top edge of the net, before falling back down onto
Seminole's side of the court.
"We had a couple of calls I wasn't real happy with, but I told them
we just needed to keep playing our game," Valenzuela said. "We started
playing a lot smarter in the third game, and once we got our intensity
going we did all right."
The Eagles trailed briefly in Game 1, by a 2-0 score, and then ran off
10 straight points, starting with an ace serve by Salcido. That's also
how the Eagles finished the game off, while taking advantage of a series
of unforced Maidens' errors in between those two aces.
In Game 2, Seminole jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never trailed, using
a pair of ace serves by Sarah Hill to open things up again after Pecos
had narrowed the gap to 5-2 and then using three kills and a dink for points
by Dale as part of a 6-0 run, which turned an 8-5 Maidens lead into a 14-5
"We just lost momentum in the second game. We started out real well
and had a lot of enthusiasm, but then we just lost it," Valenzuela said.
In the win over Wink, the Eagles pulled away in the middle of Game 1,
using a couple of kills by Fobbs to go on an 8-2 run after a block of Fobbs
by Kelli Bennan made it 7-5. Game 2 against the Wildcats was a lot like
Game 2 against Seminole until the end, when a serve by Dee Dee Molinar
and a spike by Kayln Lara set off a 6-0 run by the Eagles that brought
them from a 13-8 deficit to a 14-13 lead.
However, this time, the lack of substitutions hurt Pecos. D'Andra Ortega
served match point over the back line, and the Wildcats were able to rally
for the win, as Ortega blocked Lindsey Graham out of bounds and Lara and
Fobbs then hit kills out.
In the third game, both teams swapped mistakes for points early, before
the Eagles got things going with ace serves from Salcido and Molinar and
a hit by Lara. Ortega would spike a Wildcat overset after that, while Fobbs
would add a kill and a game-ending tip during a closing 5-0 run, after
Wink had closed to within 10-6.
The Eagles had opened pool round play on Friday by shutting out El Paso
Riverside, 15-4, 15-4 (actually 11-0, 11-0, since both teams start with
four points in pool round matches) then blanked Kermit in Game 1 of their
next pool match before the second game letdowns began. They ended up defeating
the Yellowjackets in Game 2 by a 15-10 score, then defeated Van Horn in
their final pool match, 15-9, 15-13.
The Eagles did have to adjust to a different lineup during the tournament,
after losing setter Jessica Rodriguez to a broken nose in their opening
match against Riverside. Molinar ended up doing all the setting for the
Eagles, and Valenzuela said the change was "not as much (a problem) as
what I thought. They adjusted real well to the substitution.
"We just need to work with Dee Dee in that situation. I told he when
she's front line (on the rotation) when she's up there she can kill it,"
Molinar was named to the all-tournament team, while Becky Dominguez
received outstanding defensive player and Fobbs was named outstanding hitter
for the second week in a row, after both won those awards at the Monahans
Sandhills Tournament. The 5-foot-4 Villalva, who was able to spike the
ball over taller players a number of times in the title match, was named
tournament MVP, while Melissa Hill and Dale also were named to the all-tournament
Wink's Ella Fernandes was named outstanding setter, and Mallory Bryan
also received all-tournament honors for the Wildcats, who beat Monahans
for third place, 8-15, 15-6, 15-10. The other all-tournament selections
were Presidio's Blanca Coffman, Monahans' Stephanie Taylor and Christie
Bates and Riverside's Alana Wayne. Presidio took fifth place in the tournament
while Van Horn won consolation.
The Eagles improved their season record to 11-2 with the win while Seminole
lost for the first time in six matches this season.
Pecos' freshmen took first place in their own tournament on Saturday.
They defeated Fort Stockton in the semifinals, 15-7, 10-15, 15-8, beat
Odessa High's sophomore team for the title, 15-6, 15-13.
In the JV division, Pecos finished fifth on Saturday, defeating Presidio
after a loss to Monahans. Odessa High's JV defeated Alpine in three games
to win the tournament title.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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