Volleyball: Friendswood sweeps Galena Park for 11th straight win
Friendswood’s straight-set win over Galena Park Tuesday night in a District 22-5A volleyball match lacked the suspense of most of the Lady Mustangs’ preceding 10 matches, which also resulted in victories.
Lopsided outcomes, such as Friendswood’s 25-5, 25-6, 25-8 triumph of the Lady Yellowjackets, may not provide the ideal preparation for the upcoming playoffs so Lady Mustang head coach Sarah Paulk knows her team must be resourceful.
“We really concentrated on middle connection and hitter connection tonight,” Paulk said. “This was a good match to fine-tune those type things.
“We were able to get people in some positions they don’t normally play. We tried to do those things, and then just play hard the whole time.”
With the win, Friendswood (25-14, 10-0) maintained a two-game lead over Crosby and Santa Fe with four games remaining in the 22-5A race.
Victories in their next two matches will clinch the No. 1 seed for Friendswood for the playoffs. Three straight wins will result in an outright district title.
Against Galena Park, Friendswood was in control throughout.
The Lady Mustangs jumped to a 13-3 lead in game one. Six-foot, one-inch senior middle blocker Nicole Scott had two kills and a block in that spree.
Makensy Manbeck, another 6-1 senior middle blocker, had four kills in the opening set and one block. An ace from setter Tori Weatherly was sprinkled in among 10 Galena Park errors as Friendswood cruised to the game one win.
In game two, Friendswood led 9-1, but Galena Park committed eight errors to help the Lady Mustangs’ cause. Eventually, Elle McGown delivered three kills while Hayden Carroll, Maddie Ritchey and Kate Bueche produced winners in a 25-6 set win.
The third game produced more of the same as Friendswood raced to a 14-2 lead. Scott and Manbeck keyed that surge, and Friendswood once again coasted.
Galena Park received strong play from seniors Astrie Fuentes, Mackenzie Dearing and Destiny Morales.
“We’ve been playing pretty well,” Paulk said. “Against Santa Fe on Friday, though, we did not play well the first set and Santa Fe did.
“I thought we came out kind of flat, but we turned it around. That was big for us because early in the season we weren’t able to turn it around.”
While Santa Fe and Crosby provide strong competition for Friendswood in 22-5A play, the Lady Mustangs have otherwise had smooth sailing. Friendswood has won 30 of 32 sets in district.
“I’ve told the girls all season that it’s not about who we’re playing,” Paulk said. “It’s about competing with ourselves, getting better every single game.
“Regardless of what’s going on the other side of the net, we have to get better. We had a really tough non-district schedule, and we’ve gradually gotten better. We’ve definitely improved, and we’ve just been trying to get everybody comfortable.”
With just a short time before the postseason unfolds, Paulk would like to see her team make bigger strides.
“We need to keep the unforced errors down and spread the ball around,” she said. “We use all five of our hitters. When we get Makensy and Nicole involved, we play a lot better.
“Tori is doing a good job of distributing the ball to everybody. We just have to stay focused and maintain a high energy level.”