90° F Wednesday, July 26, 2017

By Kyle Gregory

Westlake volleyball continued their march through District 15-5A with a 25-14, 25-16, 26-24 victory over Austin High Friday night.

“I thought we played really well the first two games and started the third game good,” said Westlake coach Al Bennett. “Austin made a good run in the third game. I don’t think we played as well, but for us, it’s still a ‘W’.”

Both defenses started strong in the first game, with Westlake coming out on the winning end of several protracted rallies. The Lady Chaps soon overwhelmed the Maroons and took a 12-3 lead, with outside hitter Corrine Grandcolas knocking the opposition off-balance with a couple of commanding hits. Austin mounted a minor rally toward the end of the game, but Anna-Christine Parrish quickly extinguished it with some imposing play at the net.

“In the beginning, we did really good,” Grandcolas said. ”We focused really hard and that’s important in volleyball because the first two games are what set you off. You need a good attitude and good start to finish well.”

The second game followed a similar script.

Both teams came out playing well, but strong play up front by Katie Daffer and solid defense by Grace Weghorst led to several Austin High errors and another quick victory for the Chaps (12-18, 4-0).

“I think we played outstanding,” Meagan Mellenbruch said. ”I’m so glad to have a team like this. We always back each other up and are there for each other. I think we came out and played well.”

The final game looked like it would be a lopsided win for Westlake. The Chaps jumped to a 5-0 lead, which grew to 9-2 with little Maroon resistance. However, Austin wasn’t going down that easily. The Maroons found their rhythm and mounted a comeback. A flustered Westlake team committed several errors and soon the match was tied 14-14. From that point on, it was a dogfight. Westlake reclaimed the lead at 18-17, but Austin didn’t give up.

For each point Westlake scored, Austin came right back, until both teams found themselves tied at 24-24. A service error by Austin and a solid strike from Weghorst later, and the Chaps came away with the victory.

“In the third game, we made too many errors,” Bennett said. ”They made more kills, and our defense wasn’t as good. Part of it was that they just started to play better. They had their backs to the wall, and they competed better.”

Weghorst led the team in kills with 13 and contributed 15 digs. Christie Ingram led defensively, with 17 digs. Madison Borowski and Molly Smith each had 17 assists and Meagan Mellenbruch and Grandcolas each had seven kills. Borowski, Mellenbruch and Kinsey Leavitt all had a pair of aces. Daffer had two blocks.

Through four district contests, the Lady Chaps remain the only undefeated team. The Chaps are so dominant that they have swept every district opponent except newcomer Lake Travis, who won one game in the rivalry match last week.

“District is what matters; it’s what’s important.  It’s the key,” Bennett said. ”I knew that we were going to have some rough spells at the beginning, but it’s the body of work. As long as we learn from the things that we did not do correct early, and we reduce those kinds of mistakes, then I think it bodes well for us in the second half of district.”

Westlake hosts district opponent Del Valle Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
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