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Voks earn much-needed win over Fox Tech

September 25, 2018

In a battle of two teams still learning the intricacies of securing victories, Natalie Rodriguez went to the service line and gave Lanier the winning edge.

The Voks junior turned a four-point deficit into a tie with a timely ace and her teammates rallied behind the momentum boost. Seventh-place Lanier scored five of the last seven points in the District 27-5A match for a 25-6, 25-17, 25-22 win over Fox Tech (3-24, 0-8), which was gaining confidence with each game.

“With my first serve, I was telling myself I had to get it in,” Rodriguez said. “I was picking the team up and being their leader — not letting them down.”

Fox Tech had led throughout the second game and had a 20-16 advantage when Rodriguez served. With a powerful serve, she had delivered back-to-back aces to bring Lanier within 11-8 earlier in Game 3.

“When Natalie isn’t jump-serving, her serves are almost harder to pick up,” Lanier coach Laura Negrete-Fernandez said. “She’s more consistent with her jump serve, but she really can do some damage.”

An ace from Gracie Riddle increased the Buffaloes’ lead to 13-9 and a Lanier hitting error made it 19-13, Fox Tech’s biggest lead of the match. A kill from Timera Lopez put the Voks at match point.

First-year Fox Tech coach Janice Cucchia said her team had to adapt to the match’s pace, which was slower than the Buffaloes were used to.

“We had some serving errors that didn’t help us stay in that game,” Cucchia said. “We’re a young team. We’re learning to play with passion and a positive attitude, no matter whom we’re playing against. The girls try hard, and they don’t quit.”

Lanier put Fox Tech on its heels in Game 1. With Myrka DeLeon (4 assists) landing three aces in an eight-point service run, the Voks reached game point with a 24-5 lead.

Fox Tech scored the first three points and fended off three-consecutive game points in Game 2, but Lanier took control (12-11) on a two-hits call and only briefly relinquished it.

“We haven’t figured out how to win yet,” said Cucchia, the Buffaloes former girls soccer coach. “But they’ll continue to make progress.”

The Buffaloes’ Naomi Robles (4 kills) tied the score 14-14 with a kill, but Lopez and Diandra Flores responded with kills to restore Lanier’s cushion.

“We need to re-focus,” Negrete-Fernandez said. “Maybe we can throw a few (opponents) off their games a little bit.”

Southwest 3, Holy Cross 71

The Dragons (18-14, 5-3) claimed victories over Eagle Pass Winn Sept. 18 (25-19, 25-6, 25-6) and Somerset (10-10, 3-5) Sept. 21 (25-18, 25-15, 25-18) to move into a third-place tie with Southside (16-11, 5-3) in District 28-5A.

Marisa Blanquiz led Southwest past Somerset in the Dragons gym with 13 assists and three aces. Nadia Chavez collected 16 digs.

Burbank 3, Sam Houston 0

The Bulldogs (12-18, 3-5) was in sixth place in District 27-5A after defeating eighth-place Sam Houston (7-15, 1-7) Sept. 21 at Alamo Convocation Center.

Janell Molina (14 kills), Pearl Alvear (10 kills) and Shanell Martinez (8 kills, 9 digs, 5 blocks) were Burbank’s top hitters. Aaliyah Manzano recorded a team-best 30 digs. Brianna Huerta produced eight blocks.

Levolea Wallace (6 kills) and DaSheiona Hall (17 assists) were statistical leaders for Sam Houston.

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