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Van Horn Advocate
Eagle girls seek to end Cantaloupe title drought
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PECOS, Aug. 28 -- The Pecos Eagles will be trying to put both a strong start and finish together this weekend, when they host 15 other area teams in the 12th annual Pecos Cantaloupe Classic Volleyball Tournament.
Play begins this afternoon at the Pecos High School gyms with pool round play the freshmen division. The varsity and junior varsity pool rounds will be Friday, and the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals on Saturday at both the new and old PHS gyms and at the Zavala Middle School gym.
Pecos has split their two dual meets so far this season, winning over Snyder on Tuesday while losing to Midland Lee on the Rebels' home court, to go to 4-3 on the season. Last weekend, Pecos ended up in the consolation bracket of the Ector County ISD Tournament, losing in the finals to Amarillo Palo Duro.
El Paso Bowie won last year's tournament in Pecos. But the Bears aren't back this year, as El Paso High, EP Jefferson, EP Parkland and EP Ysleta are the four Class 4A representatives coming in from the west. Tournament runner-up Midland Greenwood is back, along with former tournament champs Seminole and Pecos' District 4-4A rival Fort Stockton.
"The girls look like they're excited about playing. They were asking when was the last time Pecos won the tournament," Eagles' coach Becky Granado said earlier this week.
For the record, Pecos' last tournament title was in 1992, which was also the last year the Eagles won the District 4-4A title. And through the first week of play this season, it seems like almost all of the six 4-4A squads have a shot at the playoffs.
"It's going to be tougher this year. I think whichever team wants to win the most and makes the fewest mental mistakes will win it," Granado said.
The Eagles will open play at 9 a.m. Friday against Ysleta, then face Crane at 12:20 p.m. and close out pool round play against Van Horn at 3:40 p.m. The top two finishers in the pool will play at either 10 or 11 a.m. Saturday, while the third and fourth place squads play at 8 and 9 a.m. in the consolation bracket.
Semifinals are at 2:30 p.m., with the tournament finals set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
In the JV division, Pecos will play at the same times on Friday as the varsity, against Crane, Alpine and Greenwood. All the JV games will be in the old PHS gym
This afternoon, the Eagles' purple and gold freshmen teams open tournament play, with the purple team facing Monahans, Crane and Greenwood at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., while the gold team takes on Andrews, Fort Stockton and Alpine at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. The games will be split between the new and old gyms, with Saturday's semifinals and finals at the Zavala gym.
By JON FULBRIGHT
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PECOS, Aug. 28 -- Pecos Eagles' coach Mike Belew would be happy if Friday night's scrimmage against the Greenwood Rangers could go the same way the first 25 plays of last Friday's scrimmage at Crane went.
"Basically, we're looking at executing our offense," Belew said. "I thought our first defense played real well on the first series last week, and right now the main thing is getting our offense to execute, getting off the ball, and our backs getting their timing down in the backfield."
The Eagles and Rangers will run 20-play series on the first and third possession and a 15-play series on their second, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Stadium. Belew said the teams will also probably work on their `sudden death' offenses and defenses, after it was made mandatory in high school football games by the UIL this season.
The Eagles shut down Crane's offense on their first defensive series a week ago, and picked up 23 yards on their first four plays on offense. But the Eagles were never able to break a big play, and Crane would score a pair of TDs on the second and third series against Pecos.
Belew said Wednesday that while the Eagles will be facing the Rangers, "we've mainly been looking at Lamesa. They run a `50' defense while Greenwood runs a 4-3. The first time we've shown them a 4-3 was today."
Defensively, the Rangers' option attack should be a good test for the Eagles' defense, which has had problems keeping Greenwood from running to the outside in recent years.
"Our defense didn't do well in last year's scrimmage. We lost containment several times, but I was real proud of our defense last week. Our containment against Crane was very good."
As far as injuries go, Belew said Mark Abila's late-scrimmage injury last week was less serious than it first appeared, and he practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday. He said lineman Fernando Rios should also be back, while Joseph Torres is out for a couple weeks with a shoulder separation and Robert Gonzales is bothered by problems with his wisdom teeth.
Friday's scrimmage will open with the freshman squads facing each other at 5 p.m., followed by the junior varsity teams at about 6 p.m. Regular season play for those squads opens a week from tonight against Lamesa, while the Eagles will open their varsity schedule at home against the Tornadoes on Sept. 5.
This one smiled. He even laughed. And this one lost in the first round.
``He is a pretty entertaining guy both on and off the court,'' Britain's Tim Henman said after upsetting the fifth-seeded Muster 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4 Wednesday in the opening round of the year's final Grand Slam tournament.
When the match was completed, Muster even chased Henman off the court in the new Arthur Ashe Stadium.
``That was more like fun,'' Muster said. ``I just like a bit of fun, too, sometimes.''
On the court, Henman had the most fun, finding answers to every problem the hard-working Muster presented.
``With his style of play and my style of play, he has got a good game for me to play against,'' Henman said. ``He stands quite a long way back on the serve and gives me an opportunity to get pretty close to the net.''
That the British right-hander did, going to the net 103 times against just 26 for Muster. Henman won 71 points at the net and sometimes out-hit Muster from the baseline, an area of the court where the Austrian has ruled for the last few years.
``He is not somebody you could warm up against, and if you don't have a real good rhythm and timing, it is easy to lose that match,'' Muster said. ``Tim served well and took his chances, and he covered the net very well.
``And I obviously made too many mistakes at certain stages of the game.''
Muster was not happy in the postmatch interview when the questions turned to rumors that he had tested positive for drugs during a recent tournament in Cincinnati.
``That rumor has been going on six, seven times this year,'' he said. ``I have heard ... about being tested positive at tournaments I haven't been playing at.''
Then he lightened when asked what is the difference between the Muster of the past, when he was known as the King of Clay and briefly ranked No. 1 in the world, and now.
``I don't know,'' he said. ``Less hair, bigger bank account.''
While Muster laughed and lost, 11th-seeded Irina Spirlea of Romania took out her frustrations on one of the new teeny boppers of women's tennis. Spirlea moved into the third round with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory over 16-year-old Anna Kournikova of Russia.
``I just want to shut up the mouths to everybody because they just think so much about her,'' Spirlea said. ``I am not saying she is not good, but it is frustrating because sometimes you are seeded and you are not playing on the stadium court ... And she is unseeded and she gets everything.''
What Kournikova couldn't get Wednesday night was a berth in the winner's circle. Time and again she was caught flatfooted by Spirlea's well-placed groundstrokes. And she had only 15 winners to 33 by the Romanian.
Also advancing into the second round were second-seeded Monica Seles, No. 5 Amanda Coetzer, No. 8 Anke Huber and No. 9 Mary Pierce. But No. 4 Iva Majoli, the reigning French Open champion, was upset by Sandrine Testud of France 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.
``I'm pretty dissapointed with the way I've been playing,'' Majoli said. ``I just have to prepare better. ... This a Grand Slam. It's not the same like any other tournament.''
In men's matches, all the other seeded players made it through to the second round: No. 7 Sergi Bruguera, No. 10 Marcelo Rios, No. 13 Patrick Rafter and No. 14 Mark Philippoussis.
Today, the two No. 1 seeds take to the court in second-round matches - Pete Sampras against Germany's Patrick Bauer and Martina Hingis against Denisa Chladkova of the Czech Republic.
Mac McKinnon, 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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