By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel High Lady Tarpons volleyball team has dropped its last two matches as the second half of the district schedule begins this week.
Last Friday in Tarpon Gym Port Isabel lost in straight sets to La Feria and dropped from a second-place tie in the standings with the Lionettes. La Feria won by the scores of 25-15, 29-27, 25-22. This past Tuesday, also at home, the Lady Tarpons were taken to school by the first-place Lady Hawks of Zapata and lost again in straight sets, 25-11, 25-10, 25-16. Zapata remains undefeated in district play with an 8-0 record. Port Isabel drops to 5-3.
“Their hitters did a really good job tonight,” P.I. head coach Julie Breedlove said afterwards. “They didn’t let the ball drop. It didn’t matter where the ball was going, there was somebody there calling for it and picking it up.”
Zapata’s domination was nearly perfect as Port Isabel led briefly only twice in the first two sets: 2-1 in the first, and 1-0 in the second. In the third set the Lady Tarpons tried hard to stay close, trailing 11-7 and 19-14, but could not close the gap.
The aspects of her team’s game that most disappointed Breedlove was communication and mutual trust. “We didn’t communicate, we weren’t hungry, we didn’t want to go after the ball. We didn’t help each other out – we didn’t play for each other.”
The girls are communicating – it can be heard all through the match. Coach Breedlove stresses, though, that it needs to improve. “Even if we’re talking and we’re saying, ‘Ball, ball, and go, go,’ we’re still not reacting to the communication. We’ve got to be aggressive and not let the ball drop.”
Service errors are still a problem but not as much as in recent matches. “I think we cut our service errors in half and they had some, too,” Breedlove said Tuesday. “We can’t have that. You work and work to get the ball back and you’re let down because you serve the ball into the net.”
The head coach downplayed the idea that the team’s middle blockers’ lack of experience was much of a factor. “I think our middles did their job today, especially Olivia. She did put up several blocks there and she did a really good job defending the middle.”
The Lady Tarpons freshmen and JV teams both won their matches against Zapata. The former won 2-0, 25-17, 25-10. The latter won 2-1, 18-25, 25-23, 25-22. Last Friday against La Feria the freshmen won two sets to one. The JV Dark team won in straight sets, 2-0, 25-14, 25-12, and the JV Light team lost two sets to one.
In the Zapata match Simone Harry, with four, and Olivia Soliz, with three, led the team in kills. Alex Martinez had a team-high 10 digs and Soliz had three blocks. Harry, Larissa Torres, Carolina Guevara and Karina Vela each served up an ace.
Six matches remain on the district schedule, starting with a home match against Rio Hondo this Saturday. The freshmen and JV matches are scheduled to go at noon and will be followed by the Varsity match at 1 p.m. Four of the last five matches will be on the road, including next Tuesday’s match at Raymondville.
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