RED OAK — Parents were still rushing around to grab last-minute school supplies and football teams had not yet passed out shoulder pads when the Lady Hawks last lost a volleyball match.
Following a five-set win Friday over Midlothian to open the District 10-5A schedule, (24-3, 2-0) Red Oak defeated (13-16, 1-1) Mansfield Legacy in straight sets, 25-8, 25-15, 25-9.
Red Oak head volleyball coach Hope Porter called it one of her team's most complete performances during their current 16-match winning streak.
Porter also noted the complete 180-degree turn from last season's two-game winless start to district play "feels good."
"I think it has given the girls a little bit of confidence but I still keep preaching to them that we have to take it one day at a time, one match at a time and one set at a time. That’s all we can do,” she said.
“I thought the girls executed really well tonight. I pleased with the way they executed with the exception of one little run in the second set," said Porter of a Legacy run that flipped a 10-5 Red Oak lead into the Lady Broncos' favor, 11-10. "When I talked to them, I told them that this is when we practice that. We can’t give up those kinds of runs. When we are in this type of situation, that is when you practice stopping that. Minus that one little run in the second set, I thought we executed and controlled the match pretty well.”
With Hess serving, the Lady Hawks reeled off seven-straight points before a hitting error to take an 11-5 lead early in the first set. Red Oak stayed hot, finishing the set on a 14-3 run for the 25-8 win.
Set two started with a Kennedy Wiley kill followed by the first of the match for Katelyn Malone. That two-point advantage ballooned to five but quickly turned into a one-point Legacy lead. The Lady Broncos scored six straight points with Qu'Rea Madden serving to tilt the score in favor of the Lady Broncos, 11-10. Kills by Hess and Hunt —followed by a Hunt block and a couple hitting errors — forced a Legacy timeout with Red Oak back in front, 15-11.
Behind a handful of Kennedy Mcruffin and Kylie Bryan digs on the back row, Red Oak closed out the second set on a 10-4 run after the timeout (15-4 total). The Lady Hawks won set two, 25-15.
Set three started as a back-and-forth affair but soon turned in favor of the Lady Hawks. Kendra Mcruffin, Megan Comeaux and Chloe Jackson all recorded kills in the 25-9 third-set win for the Red Oak sweep.
“The kids who came in off the bench tonight continued to execute, as well. I think they were nice and relaxed and didn’t feel like they had any pressure on them and they did a nice job,” said Porter, who attributed part of their successes to the court-leadership of Emily North and Bryan.
“They (North and Bryan) did a good job of giving a little direction and a little encouragement to keep everyone focused. I thought they led the court really well when we had just the two starters left on the floor.”
Hess and North led the team with nine and eight kills, respectively, while Wiley added six and Malone and Hunt accounted for five, each.
Serena Patterson led the way with six blocks on a night where the Lady Hawks nearly matched their block total with aces (10-8).
Bryan recorded 23 digs with just one error from the libero position and setters North and Emily Smith tallied 23 and 10 assists.
Red Oak now turns its sights on Lancaster to close out the week at home before hosting (23-7, 2-0) Mansfield Lake Ridge on Tuesday, Sept. 19.
Porter, who now has 295 career wins to just 107 losses, is not looking past Friday against a jump-start Lancaster team coached by Quanesha Speed-Smalls.
"For the last three years, that program has been improving. They have a coach over there who is trying to get things moving in the right direction, and she is working really hard to make that happen, and that is obvious because they are getting better."