Twelve kills from junior Sydney Collins helped the Hays Rebels upend the Cedar Ridge Raiders in a high-octane 25-12, 25-21, 28-30, 25-23 non-district match Tuesday at Bales Gym.
While Hays struggled with errors at times, head coach Ashley Davis said patience paid dividends as the Rebels notched a key win before district play opens Friday.
“It was more…let the game come to you. It’s just growing up and maturing and we were doing that pretty rapidly,” Davis said. “I’m proud of our progress through tournament season until now.”
Hays (14-16) took advantage of Cedar Ridge miscues in set one, which was followed by weathering a furious second set Raider rally to take a 2-0 match lead. Hays was led by Ryann Torres, who had 27 kills, and libero Brooke Sheely’s team high 16 digs. Guiding Hays’ attack was Collins, along with hitters Maddie Krafka and Trista Strasser.
Davis said making the “right decision” during certain situations, as well as recognizing the need to adjust to Cedar Ridge’s block, helped Hays’ offense thrive.
But a myriad of errors in clutch moments, primarily when serving, hurt Hays in a back-and-forth third frame that had 14 ties and five lead changes. Tied at 22-22, Cedar Ridge outscored Hays 8-6 to prevent the sweep.
Tight play continued for most of the fourth frame; Hays and Cedar Ridge were deadlocked at 19-19. But a 6-3 Rebel run gave Hays enough separation to close the match. Davis said playing in close matches during pre-district tournament action was beneficial.
“To me, it was ‘we’ve been in these tough situations before,’ it was ‘let’s find a way to close these matches,’” Davis said.
With district play on the horizon, Davis said Hays is in a “good place.”
“We’re just thankful we’re just healthy and ready to go,” Davis said.
Hays opens district play Del Valle Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Bales Gym.