Hays sweeps Stars, remains in playoff chase

A late third set surge from the Ann Richards Stars couldn’t keep the Hays Rebels from notching a crucial 25-8, 25-13, 25-23 sweep Friday at Bales Gym.

Tuesday’s win helped Hays (24-20, 10-4) remain tied with Austin High for the fourth and final playoff spot in 25-6A with only four matches left. Rebel head coach Ashley Davis said while Hays is in control of its own destiny, execution in important situations will be essential moving forward.

“The reality is we can go toe-to-toe with everyone in this district. No one is head and shoulders better than us,” Davis said. “I’m confident in our skill level and ability to compete. We need to go out there, determined, and execute.”

Strong play across the board allowed Hays to cruise past Ann Richards in the first two frames. Rebel senior Syndey Collins said implementation of the team’s middle blockers, as well as working around a formidable Ann Richards block at the net, paid dividends. Rebel junior Joselyn Roberson led the team with 11 kills while senior setter Ryan Torres had 34 assists. Hays’ senior Trista Strasser notched a game-high five blocks.

But the tide turned early in the third frame as Ann Richards’ attack woke up and built a 22-20 lead. Davis said while Hays wasn’t going after “the wrong shots”, they also struggled to notch the kills they needed. A handful of unforced errors also played a role in some struggles.

That all changed when Hays used a 5-1 run to close to the third frame, capped off by a game-winning kill by Roberson.

“It was just being patient and doing what we do and revert back to our training,” Davis said.

While the dream of a district title is no longer in view, Collins said players are now seeking to punch a postseason ticket.

“We had a team meeting and we all committed back into this game,” Collins said. “Even though we’re not going to get a district championship, we’re still going to work hard to beat teams we need to beat. We just can’t get into our heads.”^Hays travels to play at Lehman Friday at 6:30 p.m

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