Twenty kills from New Braunfels Canyon Cougarette Kylie Trefflich Tuesday brought the Hays Rebels volleyball team’s season to a close in a 16-25, 25-14, 22-25, 18-25 bidistrict round loss at Lehman High.
Amid the emotions from players and parents, Hays head coach Stephanie Coates believed her team’s never-give-up attitude not only was a big step in the right direction, but was, in essence, a moral victory.
“Sometimes you win games, sometimes you lose games, but sometimes you lose games but they’re wins,” Coates said. “Tonight was a win. We came to play and we kept fighting all the way through.”
Hays (28-18) was unable to avoid critical unforced errors at key moments during the match, Coates said. Errant passes, net violations, double hits and service issues were all problems Hays dealt with.
Working past Canyon’s formidable front line, anchored by Treflich and 6-foot, 2-inch Angel Jones, was a challenge as well. Canyon notched eight combined blocks on the night, four of them from Jones.
Hays dropped the first set to Canyon before responding back in the second frame. Improved execution across the board, along with solid communication, helped Hays notch a 25-14 set win.
Coates lauded the play of senior libero Kayla Tello who maintained a high level of energy and dug out multiple kill attempts from Treflich and Jones. Rebel senior Jamie Agnew said better communication led to an increase in confidence, along with more kills and improved first contact.
Leading the charge was senior Catherine Croft, who finished with 18 kills in the match. Coates said Croft has been a consistent asset for her offense and “stepped up and turned it on” in her final match as a Rebel.
“We picked up our energy and we told each other we wanted this,” Tello said. “We told each other to pick it up, so that helped us.”
Hays initially kept up that momentum early in the third set. After trailing 14-11, Hays went on a 5-1 run to take a 16-15 lead and force a Cougarette timeout.
But the Rebels couldn’t keep pace with Canyon, which stayed ahead at arm’s length. Canyon used a 6-1 run to surge ahead 21-17; the Cougarettes held off a late Rebel rally to win the third set 25-22.
“In games like this where they’re going to be close, you’ve got to take care of the ball and you can’t have that many unforced errors,” Coates said. “In sets one and three, we had too many unforced errors.”
Despite the loss, Coates praised her senior class whom she knew was “special” when she saw them in middle school. Along with Tello, Croft and Agnew are role players such as Ashley Esparza, Julie Bowen and Sierra Dittmar, who was the “consummate teammate” following her knee injury.
“Everyone has been with the program for four years and we’ve worked our butts off and it’s paid off,” Agnew said. “But we’re sad that it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”