RED OAK — Just hours before the Red Oak Lady Hawks hosted the Lady Mustangs of Grapevine in their home opener Monday evening, two somewhat significant events unfolded.
First, a bolt of lightning struck Red Oak High School, knocking out a breaker or control panel Sunday afternoon. The act of Mother Nature forced the Lady Hawks to relocate their home debut to Red Oak Middle School. Then, Grapevine received a No. 9 ranking in the latest 5A poll issued by the Texas Girls Coaches Association.
None of which played a factor after the first serve, as (7-1) Red Oak needed just four sets to down the visiting Lady Mustangs (25-20, 20-25, 25-14, 25-18).
The match wasn’t as clean as Red Oak head volleyball coach Hope Porter would like to see from her Lady Hawks. There were times that mishits or poor spacing allowed the Lady Mustangs to piece together runs. But, as the old adage claims: a win is a win.
“It is a good win. I always tell my kids that an ugly win is better than a pretty loss. You can play your best match and lose and it is still bad. It still stinks. Any win we can get we are going to take it,” said Porter after the victory. “We aren’t going to be upset with any win. I do wish we would have played a cleaner match but I tried to run a couple of different people in here and there to get a few different looks and we are going to be doing that a lot over the next couple of weeks.”
Porter explained the rolling rotation helps to curb any gun shyness, which should allow for her veteran squad to “figure that out and try cleaning it up before we start district.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
During the first set, Red Oak jumped out to a 13-7 lead before state-ranked Grapevine battled back to within two, 18-16. A few serves later, it was a Serena Patterson kill to put the Lady Hawks ahead 23-20 that served as the catalyst to close out the set.
Patterson then made a textbook dig from the back row that led to a Kennedy Wiley kill. Katie Hess followed shortly after with the set-winning kill, 25-20. Emily North assisted on all three points.
Set two began with a North ace but was quickly negated with a 3-0 run by the Lady Mustangs. Though the set saw the score tied six different times, Red Oak played from behind after taking an 11-10 lead before falling 20-25.
A 6-0 run to start the third set gave the Lady Hawks all the cushion they needed. After a four-point run by the Lady Mustangs, Wiley fired home a pair of kills to jump start an 8-1 Red Oak run and a 14-5 lead. Hess closed out the game with three-straight kills for the 11-point win, 25-14.
Red Oak fell behind early in the fourth set but, after several short runs, it was a North kill from the right side that gave the Lady Hawks their first lead, 10-9. With the home team streaking, libero Kylie Bryan dove to her right for a one handed dig that resulted in another North kill to keep momentum firmly in the Red Oak corner, 15-10.
Patterson closed out the match with three straight kills and an ace to put the Lady Hawks up 23-17. Two serves later North sent a well-placed back set to Megan Comeaux for the match-winning kill.
.@ROLadyHawksVB knock off No. 9 Grapevine in four: 25-20,20-25,25-14,25-18.
Lady Hawks now 7-1 on the season. #txhsvb pic.twitter.com/QSmhRBFpFE
— Travis M. Smith (@Travis5mith) August 15, 2017 STILL STREAKING
The win was the seventh of the season for Porter and company to just one loss — a three-set nail biter against Aledo (21-25, 25-14, 20-25) over the weekend in the ASC Nike Denton Ryan Classic.
“We had a good weekend. I would have liked to have won the Aledo match and saw what could have happened but we went 5-1 so there is nothing to complain about there,” said Porter of her Lady Hawks who finished seventh out of 48 teams in Denton. “We got lots of experience and lots of time to learn and work things out, and maybe we learned a thing or two from the Aledo match. Everything we do, we talk about it to build on for later in the year. Right now is not our focus.”
With a goal to get her team off to a faster start than last season, Porter has her Lady Hawks slightly ahead of the 2016 pace where they did not win their seventh match until their 10th contest. Red Oak then lost three of five in the Northwest ISD Classic before reeling off 12 consecutive wins.
DOWN MEMORY LANE
The win inside the gymnasium on Monday was extra special for four Lady Hawk seniors and an assistant coach.
After serving as Red Oak High School and before transitioning into Red Oak Middle School, the building located at 154 Louise Ritter Drive housed Red Oak Junior High.
It was there that Patterson, North, Kylie Bryan and Kennedy Wiley helped the eighth grade A team to an undefeated, 10-0 district championship under coach Irene Halbert in 2013. The five gathered at center court after Monday's win to commemorate the occasion.