Defense powers Lady Eagles to four-set winFree Access

Pleasanton’s Angel Tucker (13) and Korin Ramos (2) go up for a block against Sam Houston. PHOTO: J GARCIA

The Pleasanton Lady Eagles rebounded from tournament play in Devine with a four-set win over San Antonio Sam Houston on Monday night (25-21, 25-18, 7-25, 25-19) thanks to stellar defense.

Head coach Gabriel Aguirre said there’s still work to do, but his team is starting to show a promising upward trend.

“For three (of the four) games, we looked really good. That third game, we just didn’t play like we were supposed to,” Aguirre said. “At least now we’re headed in the right direction. Hopefully we’ll see tomorrow.”

Leading the defensive effort was senior libero Kalyssa Rios, who recorded 21 digs for the Lady Eagles to go with a pair of service aces. Madeline Keylich recorded 13 digs in the win.

Brianna Garcia led the defense at the net with 3 1/2 blocks to go with five kills.

Rios said she was more comfortable on the floor after improving her ability to read opposing hitters. She also said it was the first time the team felt like a complete unit.

“It felt so great. For once, we connected on the court and off the court. The bench was more awake and we felt more

Pleasanton’s Tess Underbrink (1) sets against Sam Houston. PHOTO: J GARCIA.

like a team rather than individuals,” she said. “Coach Aguirre helped a lot by talking on where to go when you see (hitter’s) shoulders turn, if the set’s too far out, to come more in towards the middle. He plays a big part in the team.”

The Lady Eagles had to play catch-up a few times in the match, using a 7-0 run to tie the first set at 12 before using a 6-0 run to reclaim the lead for good at 21-17 in the opening act. An 8-0 run helped them stake an 11-9 lead in the second stanza that they wouldn’t surrender en-route to the second set win.

Freshman setter Victoria Urbanczyk powered the offense in the win, tallying a team-highs of 11 assists, eight kills and two aces. Sophomore setter Tess Underbrink had 10 assists to her credit.

Aliyah Martin and Angel Tucker each had four kills.

Next, the Lady Eagles will test their mettle in a non-district clash with current Class 1A no. 12-ranked D’Hanis, a state semifinalist a year ago.

Aguirre and the Lady Eagles are eager for the test.

“That’ll be a true test because they were state-bound last year. They’re probably gonna head there this year. So, we’ll see,” Aguirre said.

“We’ve just gotta come out with the same fire and desire to go up there and get every serve receive, every dig, every block up,” Rios said.

Pleasanton (6-10) and D’Hanis are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start time.

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