Lady Eagles make strides despite two losses at home tourney

Pleasanton’s Skylar Schimelfening (15) and Angel Tucker (13) attempt a block against Burbank on the opening day of the Pleasanton Tournament. Aug. 9, 2019 SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

The Pleasanton Lady Eagles opened the Pleasanton volleyball tournament with a win against Lytle (22-25, 25-22, 25-23) before dropping their next two games against Burbank (14-25, 14-25) and San Antonio Randolph (16-25, 23-25).

The young Lady Eagles started out slow, dropping the first set to Lytle 25-22. They jumped out to a 6-0 lead in that first set before allowing the Lady Pirates to go on an 8-0 run to take an 8-6 lead.

Lytle then extended their lead to 20-13 before the Lady Eagles clawed back. They pulled within 23-22 before Lytle notched the final two points to claim the set.

Pleasanton followed similar suit to the first set, claiming a 7-1 lead early on. They wouldn’t surrender the set lead until Lytle went on a 4-0 run to take a 19-17 lead. The Lady Eagles would tie the set on three occasions after that before taking a 23-21 lead on the heels of a 3-0 run. Lytle pulled within 23-22 before the Lady Eagles picked up the final two points to win the second set before battling for a 25-23 win in the final set.

Pleasanton’s Brianna Garcia (3) tries to finish an attack on the opening day of the Pleasanton volleyball tournament. Aug. 9, 2019 SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Burbank proved to be the Lady Eagles’ toughest test of the day, sweeping Pleasanton while never surrendering the lead.

Against the Randolph Ro-Hawks, the Lady Eagles again fell victim to their own mistakes, committing eight errors and two faults to drop the first set 25-16. However, Pleasanton picked up their game in the second set, tallying six kills and four blocks as a team in the set.

Trailing 21-17, the Lady Eagles rattled off a 6-0 run to take a 23-21 lead. Randolph would then go on a 4-0 run to steal the set and complete the sweep.

“Well, we started off really rough,” head coach Gabriel Aguirre said. “But now they’re getting to the point where they’re doing the little things they’re supposed to be doing. They have to do them on every single point, not just on certain points.”

Kasie Castillo had two kills and 1 1/2 blocks in the set. Angel Tucker picked up a kill and 1 1/2 blocks as well. Skyler Schimelfening, Brianna Garcia and Aliyah Martin each had one kill in the set.

“There’s still a long way to go, but they’re starting to understand that they have to work hard on every single point,” Aguirre said. “They have to keep fighting, because if you let the other team get on consistent runs, we won’t ever get into the game.”

Pleasanton’s Tess Underbrink sets a pass against Burbank. Aug. 9, 2019 SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Aguirre and the Lady Eagles are in the market to find a new setter following the graduation of All-State setter Madison McDonald. Despite missed passes from their defensive specialists, Aguirre was pleased with what he saw from sophomore Tess Underbrink and freshman Victoria Urbanzck. He just wants the passes to go where he wants them to go.

“Right now, we have our setters running all over the place,” Aguirre said. “Our passing, our (defensive specialists) aren’t getting the ball back to where they need to be so that my setters can make good sets.”

The Lady Eagles will face the runner-up from Pool B at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.

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