The Plano West volleyball team, which rebounded to enter the week ranked at No. 6 in the weekly Texas Girls Coaches Association’s state poll, took down newly unranked Southlake Carroll at home Tuesday, 3-0.
West head coach Justin Waters said the sweep, though it came over a Lady Dragons club that lacked junior outside hitter and Minnesota commit Natalie Glenn, was a solid win as his group prepares to begin District 9-6A play in two weeks.
“It felt good. We got a little comfortable after the first set and got a little overconfident. We kind of got away from our game and started messing around and loosened up a little bit,” he said. “But, overall, it’s a good win. I wish that they had their big outside, Natalie, in there. I know she was injured, but that would have been a little better competition and a little sweeter win.”
After a 4-4 tie early in set No. 1 Tuesday, the Lady Wolves separated themselves with a 6-0 run over the Lady Dragons and never looked back on their way to a dominant, 25-12 set victory.
From there, though, the match tightened significantly – Carroll found itself locked up with West at 12 a side in set No. 2 and, while the Lady Dragons didn’t lead in the frame after that tie, the final count was just 25-22.
The third frame, and subsequently the sweep, fell to West by an even narrower margin, as the Lady Wolves had to battle back from deficits of 23-21 and 24-23 to edge Carroll, 27-25.
While his program didn’t drop a set in the midweek bout, Waters said he’s still looking for his players to exhibit a killer instinct in putting teams away for good.
“That’s kind of been the story of the year, so far. We’ll have one really good set and hold a team to 12 or 15, then kind of take our foot off the gas and get comfortable,” he said. “Before you know it, when you’re playing a good team or in the playoffs, it’s going to be 22-22 at the end, you’ll give up a three-point run, and, all of the sudden, you’re down a set.”
The Lady Wolves’ three-headed monster outside racked up 44 kills on the night, as seniors Jill Pressly and Noelle Piatas collected 14 kills each and fellow senior Iman Ndiaye turned in 16 to pace the program in the win.
Piatas was particularly efficient in the winning effort, recording just two errors, and she knocked down nine of those enders in the final set to help the program finish the Lady Dragons in three.
Though the trio of seniors draws a lot of attention for West, junior Avery Lowe had a quietly solid night, turning in 10 kills without an error.
Lowe, Waters said, has been an integral part of the Lady Wolves’ roster throughout the early stages of 2019.
“She’s definitely been flying under the radar,” he said. “She’s been doing really well. She’s not that huge presence that hits a heavy ball straight down. She’s crafty with her angles, and she’s really bought into my shot training over the past couple of years since I was her JV coach. She just finds ways to find the hole on the floor.”
Junior Ashley Le led West in assists, totaling 22, while senior Sydney Yap fell in just behind her with 19. Le also collected a dozen digs, second only to Pressly’s 16, and both Le and Pressly had four aces in the victory.
With 9-6A competition fast approaching, Waters said his athletes have told him the best is yet to come.
“We’re in a good spot. We still have a lot to work on, but they’re going to be excited going into district,” he said. “That’s kind of been what they’ve been waiting on all year. They don’t care about the preseason rankings. They don’t care about their ranking right now. They don’t care about their record. All they care about is doing well in district, making playoffs, and then turning it on.
“I’ve talked to them, and they’ve told me that I’m going to see a different team in the playoffs, when it really matters.”
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