Lady Rattlers dominate Lady Bulldogs
Sharyland Rattlers (7-0) vs. McAllen Memorial Mustangs (5-2)
Tuesday night lights are back and the stage was set for an electric game. This week’s Big 7 Sports Volleyball Game of the Week was a clash of the titans. We watched as the flawless (7-0) and Big 7 Sports very own Sharyland Lady Rattlers faced up against the Lady Bulldogs of McAllen (5-2). The Lady Bulldogs are one of many tough District 31-5A opponents that the Lady Rattlers have to face in order to claim their throne at the top. The last time we checked on the Lady Rattlers, they faced up against district rivals McAllen Memorial Mustangs. The Rattlers battled to keep a 27 game win streak alive against the Mustangs and would soon prevail to extend their streak to 28.
This game was going to be no different because since then they have extended their win streak to 31. I asked head coach Raul Castillo what the winning streak means to him and his team, “We want to keep the momentum going, but we don’t talk about the streak, we just want the next win.” I went on to ask Castillo about how it is to play in a talented district,” It’s fun when you’re playing top teams…In our district everybody brings everything to us like McHi, Memorial, and Pioneer, they’re all fun teams to play whether we win or lose, a good game is a good game.”
Competing in a district like this has only made the Lady Rattlers that much better. With a win Tuesday night, the Lady Rattlers would widen the gap further between themselves and the teams in their district. It would also extend their win streak by making it 32 in a row. This wouldn’t be given to them, they were going to have to get a win against the Lady Bulldogs before thinking about that. Let’s get this show on the road.
The game started out like you would expect when these two Titans face up: Hard hitting. The Lady Rattlers were the first to land a big swing. They went up by a score of 11-5 by simply playing better offense and better defense than the Bulldogs. The next one to swing would be the Bulldogs, climbing back into the game and tying it. 17-17. The Rattlers took a timeout and came back with a plan: Win this set. Right side hitter Kassandra de la Garza took over the game and led her team to close out the set by assisting her teammates into points and a first set win 25-18. Two more sets to go.
The second set started with McAllen taking an early lead, but the Rattlers would climb back into the game. From a 2-5 deficit, the Lady Rattlers went up 14-12. The reason why the Lady Rattlers were able to climb back into it was because outside hitter Kenisha Martinez exerted her dominance. Martinez could be found wherever the ball was and whether it was on the offensive or defensive end, she was who would come out on top. The rallies to close this set out were long, but after capitalizing on some Bulldog errors, the Lady Rattlers came out on top by a score of 25-21. One more set to go.
The third set got off to a quick start. The Rattlers took an early 12-7 lead, but then the most amazing thing happened; a rally that would last for what seemed like an eternity. This rally was a battle of the defenses. Every hit sent back over the net was sure to be the one to finish this rally, but both teams refused to let the ball hit the floor. All credit goes to libero Ava Garza, middle hitter Ashlyn Garcia, outside hitter Pamela Peña, Kenisha Martinez, and Kassandra de la Garza, who all made amazing plays on defense to earn that point and make the score 13-7 Rattlers. The Bulldogs made some things work on the court and started putting points up themselves, but the Lady Rattlers had a response for every point that the Bulldogs scored as they led 18-13. Sharyland began to pull away as they continued their defensive masterclass. The Lady Rattlers closed out this set 25-16 and won the game.
Kassandra de la Garza finished the game with 13 assists and 10 kills in this win over the Bulldogs. Martinez finished the game with 16 kills and 2 blocks on the night. Martinez also reached two career milestones with this win tonight: 200 aces and 1000 digs. Winning is a bit easier to come by when you have players like those two. Congratulations to Martinez on reaching those milestones.
After the game, I talked to Ava Garza about the win and what a win like this does for them moving forward, “I’m very excited for us, we want to go far in the playoffs, even farther than last year. Playing in a talented district motivates us to do better, it’s very exciting.”
No doubt this team can and will go as far as they can when they’re always playing the best of the best. By securing the win, the Lady Rattlers improved to an 8-0 record in district play. This puts them in the first place spot in their district…but they are not alone up there. They are greeted by another team in the first place spot. But who could it be? It’s the Big 7 Sports very own Pioneer Diamondbacks who are also at 8-0. These two undefeated Big 7 Sports teams are proving why we have the best of the best here. Are both of these teams good enough to stay undefeated in district play? Yes. Will they stay undefeated in district play? No. That’s because the Lady Rattlers and the Lady Diamondbacks will be facing off against each other tomorrow in a game that will go a long way toward determining the eventual district championship.
I talked to Ava Garza about tomorrow’s game, “We want to sweep them, we want to sweep them at home and we want to sweep them away, that’s what we intend to do.” After asking Coach Castillo about his next matchup, he told me, “It’s going to come down to the defensive plays…it’s going to be how consistent we are and how many big plays we can make defensively.” Consistency is something that the Lady Rattlers are very good at. They win consistently and those defensive plays come in bunches, but this next game will put that all to the test. Congratulations to the Lady Rattlers on the win and for extending their win streak to 32.