Despite dropping their first two matches to San Antonio Highlands (25-19, 25-14) and Carrizo Springs (29-27, 25-20) on the second day of their home tournament, the Pleasanton Lady Eagles found a way to close out the tournament with a sweep of Lytle (25-6, 25-13).
The win gave head coach Gabriel Aguirre affirmation that his young team is starting to put wheels to the pavement in the new season.
“It’s always good (to finish with a win), especially if they learned something from the first game this morning to the end,” Aguirre said. “We progressively got better with each game and it paid off in the end.”
In their final two matches, sophomore setter Tess Underbrink and freshman setter Victoria Urbanczyk began to find their rhythm as directors of the Lady Eagle offense. The duo combined for 28 assists in that two-match span.
“Victoria is a freshman and I’m a sophomore, so we are a young team all around. I’ve been setting since my eighth grade year and she always has,” Underbrink said. “It’s just all of us getting to play together because we’re all from different places.”
Urbanczyk also led the team in kills during the final two matches with 11 to go along with her 14 assists in the final two matches. By those numbers, you wouldn’t think the freshman was still acclimating to the speed of varsity play.
“The game has been more fast-paced,” Urbanczyk said. “More things are happening faster, so you have to pick it up fast. Since I’m setting, you have to pick it up faster and you have to get the game going faster.
“I feel like I’m doing well, but I can do better.”
Aguirre credited his setters’ success to better passing from his defensive specialists, although the longtime head coach knows there’s still work to be done for Pleasanton to get back to their high level of play.
“It’s getting better. We’re still not where we need to be,” Aguirre said. “But our passes are at least some of the time getting back to where my setter can actually set the ball and we can hit it.”
The Lady Eagles knew they were starting to find traction in the first set against Carrizo Springs, where they fought off two set points after squandering a 20-16 lead. Carrizo Springs would eventually fight off a set point for the Lady Eagles and go on a 3-0 run to claim the set.
“It definitely showed that we could play up and sometimes playing a slower team will bring us down,” Underbrink said. “But the more we play together, the more we get to know each other and where we need to be.”
Pleasanton will now head into the teeth of their non-district schedule with a total of three matches on Monday and Tuesday before heading to the Devine Tournament this Thursday. The Lady Eagles see this as a golden opportunity to continue to improve their game.
“We’re starting to look pretty good,” Aguirre said. “We’re still not exactly where we need to be, but as long as we keep getting better each game, we’ll be alright.”
Pleasanton (2-4) will travel to San Antonio Lanier on Monday before traveling to San Antonio Randolph for dual matches with Devine and Randolph on Tuesday.