Inconsistent play, magnified by a key injury, hindered the Hays Rebel volleyball team in a four set district loss to the Bowie Bulldogs Tuesday at Bales Gym.
Hays (16-13, 1-1 in district play) was forced to play the match without junior setter Ryann Torres, who was held out due to an injury. Her absence showed early in the match when Bowie took control of the first set due to several unforced Rebel errors.
Bowie sped ahead to a 14-9 lead and claimed the first set 25-18.
The Bulldogs stayed hot in the second frame and maintained a solid lead. However, Hays fought back behind back-to-back aces from senior Catherine Croft, which evened the score at 19-19. After a Bowie timeout, the Bulldogs outscored the Rebels 6-3 down the stretch to take a commanding 2-0 match lead.
Set three began the same way the first two, with Bowie jumping out to a five-point lead, which eventually grew to as large as eight points. However, Hays rallied back to swipe a 26-24 set win from the Bulldogs. Leading the way was Croft’s seven kills in the third frame, as well as play from freshman setter Tori Simmang.
Hays’ momentum, however, didn’t last long as Bowie quickly distanced themselves from the Rebels in the fourth frame. Unforced errors early in the set hurt the Rebels, and despite Hays putting together a noble run late, Bowie closed the match for the win.
Croft finished with 16 kills as well as three aces and three digs. Senior Kayla Tello racked up 14 digs, as well as contributing eight assists. Senior Jamie Agnew had 10 kills in the match. .
Younger players also played a key role for the Rebels Tuesday. Simmang finished with 14 assists, while fellow freshman Joselyn Roberson finished with four kills.
Sophomores Madison Hammond and Trista Strasser were both active for the Lady Rebels as well. While the loss was frustrating, Hays head coach Stephanie Coates said she was pleased with play from the team’s bench and younger players.
“I think my young players that came in to our lineup today did an outstanding job,” Coates said. “You would think these freshman would come in and freak out, but that’s not what they did. They settled down and did a great job.”
Hays returns to action Aug. 31 when they travel to play at Westlake. The Rebels host Lake Travis Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Bales Gym.