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Wednesday, September 29, 1999

Eagles fall in early hole following win by Lions

Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 29, 1999 -- District 2-4A home openers just don't seem to work out very well for the Pecos Eagles. But unlike last year, Tuesday's loss to the Clint Lions may be far more costly for the Eagles by the time the season is over.

Just as they did a year ago, the Eagles lost at home to a district team they had beaten in tournament play earlier in the season. This time, Clint rallied from a 15-10 opening loss to beat Pecos, 15-12, 15-13 to remain unbeaten in district play with a 3-0 record.

"We deserve to lose, because that's the way we've been practicing," an unhappy coach Becky Granado said.

Pecos overcame last season's loss to win their final nine 2-4A matches and claim the district title. But unlike a year ago, when the Eagles and Fabens Wildcats were pretty much even on offense, Clint hit the ball much better than Pecos and had more players contributing to the attack from both the middle and outside.

"It's going to be tough to beat them over there," Granado said following the loss. "I don't know if this is going to wake them up or not."

Pecos was able to beat Clint last month in Monahans even though they were out-hit, mainly because the Eagles made fewer overall mistakes than the Lions did. However, on Tuesday, the Lions cut down on their serve mistakes after the first game, while the Eagles had more problems passing the ball, both off Clint serves and spike attempts.

"We just don't want to move for the ball. They're just happy standing there," the Eagles' coach said. "I think they thought because we beat them in Monahans it was going to be easy."

The Eagles got a few early kills from Alexa Marquez, while Ashley Salcido had some spikes in Game 3. But their No. 1 hitter, Philonicus Fobbs, struggled in the second and third games, while the Eagles had even more problems handling Collanne Bramblett while Fobbs was on the back line.

Bramblett led two comebacks in Game 1, cutting a 5-0 deficit to 6-5 and an 11-6 Eagle lead to 12-10. Pecos was able to win that game when Fobbs got back up to the front line and broke serve, and then she and Marquez scored off kills around a missed tip by Bramblett.

But in Game 2 after Bramblett brought the Lions back from a 7-3 deficit Clint tied the game off a kill by Naomi Luna, and went ahead on a block of Fobbs by Michelle Tullius. They wood go up by a 13-9 score off a Polly Wagner kill before the Eagles staged a brief rally, cutting the lead to 13-12 off a Salcido kill and two errors by the Lions.

But Clint was able to break serve, then won the game off a serve by Denise Duran and another Wagner spike.

Neither team had more than a two-point lead in Game 3. Pecos led by a 7-5 score after a Fobbs block of Luna but then saw Clint rally for 8-7, 9-8 and 10-9 leads. Pecos would tie the score then go up 12-10 on a block of Bramblett by Fobbs and an error by Tullius, but the Eagles' couldn't generate any attack after that.

A Bramblett kill and a missed tip by Fobbs tied the game, and kills by Duran and Bramblett got the Lions to match point. Bramblett missed a chance to win the match, missing on an overset kill attempt, and she and Luna then collided to get Pecos to within one. But a Fobbs serve then went over the back line and Clint won when Marquez' kill attempt went into the net.

"I talked to them about where to go on defense and they still don't want to go," Granado said, referring to Pecos being caught out of position on several kills. "In practice, we're just dragging, and they paid the price tonight."

Clint upped its record to 12-3 on the season, while Pecos fell to 12-9 and 1-1 in district, going into Saturday's match at Canutillo.

Pecos did win Tuesday's junior varsity and freshman matches, with the JV taking a 15-13, 15-12 decision, while the ninth graders beat Clint, 15-6, 4-15, 15-13.

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