By WES FERGUSON
The Hays Lady Rebels couldn’t have asked for a better way to conclude the first round of District 27-4A volleyball. The Lady Rebels moved into a three-way tie for first place in district on Friday, and they can still boast they’ve never lost a match to their cross-town district rivals, the Lehman Lady Lobos.
Sydney Paradeaux and her Lady Rebel teammates made sure the streak continued in a masterful 25-13, 25-3, 25-12 win over Lehman at Bales Gym.
“We came out to fight. We kept up our strength and didn’t let down,” Paradeaux said. “It’s our rival, and we’re like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this. We’re going to get them.’ Every single time we say that, and we come through with it and beat them.”
While Hays was handling Lehman, first-place Alamo Heights dropped a 3-2 match to Boerne Champion. All three schools now claim identical 6-1 records to share a spot at the top of District 27-4A.
Hays head coach Erica Walther said she likes her team’s chances heading into the second half of district. She’s also looking forward to a rematch with the Lady Mules, who beat Hays 3-2 on Sept. 21.
“We want to try to get revenge on Alamo Heights,” she said. “We want to make sure we maintain our level of play and continue to get better. We don’t want to underestimate anyone. We just want to stay focused and keep working hard, and hopefully we can sneak our way into that No. 1 spot. Who knows.”
The Lady Lobos, meanwhile, are still searching for their first district win, but Lehman head coach Megan Cooper said her players are improving every week. After falling into a 15-3 hole in the first game against Hays, the Lady Lobos showed resilience matching the Lady Rebels point for point before ultimately succumbing 25-13.
“Hays has some quality players and is having a great year,” Cooper said. “We knew it would be a rough match. It’s disappointing, but we had sparks of great things. I think it’s a good sign of things to come next year. We are very young. We’re not going to be as tall as other teams, so we definitely need to get smarter. We know what we need to work on, and they’re going to continue to show up every day and give me everything thing they can, like they always do.
Lady Lobo setter Heidi Munoz picked up 13 assists, while libero Ofelia Negrete had 13 assists and outside hitter Aleeya Eskridge led the team with eight kills. Cooper said she expects those three to lead the team to a stronger finish in District 27-4A.
“Heidi is coming around every nicely,” Cooper said. “Ofelia is a little monster back there. She touches everything, reads very well, and she’s only continued to get better. There are good things to come this year and next year.”
Against the Lady Lobos, the 6-foot-2 Paradeaux managed 17 kills despite only playing the first two games with head coach Erica Walther turning over the court to her backups in the third game. Setter Courtney Rogers played just one game but still led all players with 17 assists. Hannah Ramsey had nine aces and eight digs.
“We change our player combinations in practice all the time, so it doesn’t matter waht combination of girls I have on the court,” Walther said. “They’re working hard together and having fun together and fighting to win points, so I’m really proud of them.”