Despite losing star middle blocker Carly Evetts during the third set to an ankle injury, the Odessa College Lady Wranglers persevered and swept the Frank Phillips College Lady Plainsmen, 25-15, 25-18, 25-22, Wednesday night in a WJCAC volleyball match at the OC Sports Center.
"It's always good to just finish and get the win," Odessa College head coach Kristi Gray said. "We talked about being more consistent. We've got to finish the match how we start the match."
Odessa College (12-5 overall, 2-1 WJCAC) had four ties early in the first set before taking an 11-6 lead after a kill by Haley Thomas. The Lady Wranglers extended their lead to six points. The Lady Plainsmen chiseled the deficit down to four points, but Odessa College powered itself back by taking a seven-point lead. Odessa College didn't back down on offense as its lead grew to 10 points to eventually take the set 25-15.
Frank Phillips College (8-8, 1-2) engaged in a heated battle to start the second set. The teams exchanged rally after rally until the Lady Wranglers took a 6-5 lead after an ace by Faith Sanchez. The set was deadlocked three more times. Odessa College pulled ahead to a four-point lead at 15-11. From that point on, the Lady Wranglers got into a rhythm after Rashai Kailiwai had a kill to make the score 17-11.
Just when Odessa College began to flow, Frank Phillips College cut the deficit back to four points. Evetts then delivered another kill to give the Lady Wranglers a 21-16 lead. Odessa College held on to win the set 25-18.
The third set is usually when Odessa College kicks the match into third gear, but Frank Phillips College kept things close. The Lady Wranglers fired off three unanswered points to begin the set. After a kill by Thomas, Odessa College had an 8-4 lead. The Lady Plainsmen cut the deficit to two points in the middle of the set.
Odessa College rode another brief wave of momentum to increase its lead to five points. Late in the set, holding a 24-20 lead, Odessa College struggled to get its match point as the Lady Plainsmen fought back to trail by two points. The rally was short-lived as the Lady Wranglers held on for the 25-22 set victory.
Kailiwai and Alexis Parrish finished with 10 kills each, while Thomas had nine. Mariana Ferreira added with seven kills. Amanda Oliveira tallied 20 assists. Kailiwai had 12 digs, while Ferreira finished with 11. Odessa College has showed determination after dropping its first conference match to New Mexico Military Institute last week.
"A win is a win, so (I'm) thankful for that," Thomas said. "And then I think we played good trying to finish it, losing one of our starting middle's, and we just worked around that. "Our offense and our defense were there today. Our back row was picking up our balls and our front row just put them away."
Article by Peter Dindinger: Odessa American
Photo by Jacob Ford: Odessa American