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Monday, August 27, 2001

Eagles receive pre-district scare from Wildcats

Staff Writer

The start of District 2-4A volleyball play for the Pecos  Eagles is still three weeks off, but the Eagles got a wake-up call Saturday  evening from the Fabens Wildcats on how tough a sixth straight trip to  the playoffs for Pecos will be this season.

After opening with a lifeless 15-3 loss to Pecos, the Wildcats turned things around after that, dominating the Eagles to win the final two games by 15-4, 15-4 scores to capture third place in the Cantaloupe Classic Volleyball Tournament. That came after Pecos had lost in the tournament semifinals to Seminole, 15-4, 15-7, and followed a morning 15-13, 15-12 win over Van Horn.

Seminole would go on to defeat El Paso Riverside to win the tournament, 15-3, 4-15, 15-6, and the Maidens were just able to out-hit the Eagles in their semifinal win. But against Fabens, the Eagles just stopped hitting after the first game, as they allowed Fabens to control the tempo to the point that coach Becky Granado called a double time-out in the second game to try and get things straightened out, to no avail.

"It's the same old thing. We have too many followers out there and not any leaders and that's what's tough. Our kids just don't talk to each other," Granado said, which led in the final two games to Pecos players running into each other several times trying for free balls, which either ended up in points for Fabens or in bad chances on offense for the Eagles.

"We go try and cover somebody else's spot, and sometimes we don't want to cover our own spot. There's just a lack of communication. We don't want to communicate at all," Granado said.

While the Eagles figure to be at a height disadvantage in most of their matches this season, that wasn't the case in either the win over Van Horn or the losses to Seminole and Fabens. In their morning match, the Eagles jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the opening game, then held off Van Horn after the visiting Eagles cut that margin to 14-13. In the second game, Pecos scored eight straight points with Stephanie Herrera serving to wipe out an 8-3 deficit, then had to rally again at the finish after Van Horn regained a 12-11 lead.

Against Seminole, the Eagles led only once, at 2-1 in the second game, and were done in by the better jumping ability of both tournament MVP Sarah Hill and the Maidens' 5-foot-5 outside hitter B.J. Williams, who was selected as Outstanding Hitter overall for the tournament.

Another shorter hitter, Fabens' Jessica Anutnez, also out-jumped the Eagles' blockers during the final two games of their match hitting from the outside. Pecos also had problems blocking Stacy Macias after doing a good job at the net in the opening game, when the Wildcats had problems at the outset handling Kathy Maldonado's serves and fell behind 11-0.

The Eagles led the second game, 3-2 when a bad set by Herrera and a spike by Macias got Fabens rolling on a 10-0 run that gave them a 12-3 lead. The only point the Eagles managed to score the rest of the way was off an ace serve by Becca Wein, before Fabens went on another 10 point run, scoring the final three points of Game 2 and jumping out to a 7-0 lead in Game 3.

That lead would grow to 11-1 before Pecos scored three straight points, most of that coming when the Wildcats ran into serving problems. But the Eagles had their own problems getting serves over the net, and three mistakes by Pecos and an Antunez kill finished the match off for Fabens.

"There again we don't know how to take advantage of somebody else's mistakes," Granado said. "We're going to have to play a better game, or we're not going to score a single point in Seminole," where Pecos will play the Maidens again, along with Amarillo Caprock and Hereford in pool round play this coming Friday.

After sweeping El Paso Parkland in their pool round in Pecos on Friday morning, the Eagles had an up-and-down afternoon while going 6-2 overall in pool games. They blew a 14-7 lead against Marfa and ended up with a 14-15, 15-6 split with the Shorthorns, then later rallied from a 13-6 deficit to Kermit to sweep the Yellowjackets, 15-13, 15-12, and in-between split with Fort Hancock, 9-15, 15-8.

Before going to Seminole, the Eagles will take their 3-10 record to Alpine on Tuesday, to face the Bucks and Odessa High Broncos in a pair of matches. Pecos opened the season with losses to OHS and Alpine in Odessa.

Pecos drops season-opening tennis matches

The top seeds in the lineups held their own, but the Pecos Eagles' tennis team had problems winning matches at the lower seeds on Saturday, and dropped their season opening matches to the Fort Stockton Panthers and El Paso Burges Mustangs.

Burges swept the lower seeds to defeat Pecos by a 16-5 final score, while Fort Stockton won all but one of the lower seeds in a 15-6 victory over the Eagles in their fall season tennis openers.

"Our bottom seeded players weren't there, so I had to move up my JV up. That's why we didn't do very well," said Mike Ortiz, who was making his debut as the Eagles' varsity tennis coach. "When I get all my people back in the right places, we'll do better."

"I'm not disappointed with the way our kids played, even the JV kids. I was happy with the way they performed," he added.

No 1 seed on the boys' side Trent Graham split his four matches, winning his singles match against Burges while teaming with Jay Dannelley to win in doubles play against Fort Stockton. Dannelly, the No. 2 seed for the boys, won both his matches against the Panthers while losing both to the Mustangs.

On the girls' side, No. 1 seed Brenda Fuentes won her singles and doubles matches against Burges, teaming with Kristina Dominguez for the doubles win, while losing twice against the Panthers. No. 2 seed in singles, Natalia Ornelas, won her matches against Fort Stockton and Burges, while she and Elizabeth Carreron split their doubles matches, beating the Prowlers while falling to the Mustangs.

The girls' other win against Fort Stockton came from No. 6 seed Whitney Lamb, while in mixed doubles, Joel Sotelo and Beatrace Villarreal also picked up a three-set victory.

Fuentes and Dominguez' doubles win was also in three sets, as was the victory by Graham and Dannelley, while six other matches the Eagles lost in split sets.

The Eagles will have this coming week and the Labor Day weekend off, and will play their next matches on Sept. 7-8, at the Americus High School Tournament in El Paso.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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