Leander knew the consequences of a loss Tuesday night and showed up with a vengeance.
The Lady Lions swept Lake Travis 3-0 (25-23, 28-26, 31-29) to stay alive in the race for the playoffs in District 25-6A and snap a two-game losing streak after falling to Westlake and Vandegrift last week.
“I talked to the kids after we lost to Vandegrift and I said that you can’t go in there fearful,” Leander head coach Ashley Atkinson said. “You can’t go in worrying about the last match. You have to go in 100 percent like you’re going to win. That’s what they did tonight.”
Riley Cotton led the team with you blocks while JuliAnn McGinnis and Mackenzie Catalina each had two. Isabel Gonzaba had 17 digs, Skyllar Duncan added 11, and Pilar Gonzaba finished with 10 digs and 37 assists.
Catalina led the team with 18 kills and Busi Banda finished with four. Atkinson said the pair of senior outside hitters, playing in their final home regular season game with the Lady Lions, are crucial to how the team plays.
“They are dynamic players,” she said. “Not just that, but they are dynamic leaders on and off the court. Sow hen they’re playing like that, the team rallies around them and wants to play for them.”
The teams traded 5-0 runs in the first set. Leander couldn’t pull away and Lake Travis kept it close, never getting more than five points down. The Lady Lions won the final two points to win the set 25-23.
Lake Travis went on a six-point rally early in the second set to cut into Leander’s early lead. Atkinson was shown a yellow card and the Lady Lions pushed their lead to 19-15. The Lady Cavaliers took their first lead oft he set at 22-21, but Leander fought off set point twice and won six of the final ten points to win the second set.
An ace by Leander senior Abby Stacks gave the Lady Lions a 14-9 lead in the third. They continued to hold as the set went on, but Lake Travis ties it at 23 apiece. The teams continued to trade points until Leander won three straight, capped off with an ace by Duncan to win the match.
“Really we talked last time about a couple small errors,” Atkinson said. “I wanted them to play all out. I said we have two sets, there’s no reason for us to play tight right here, just get after it, and that’s what they did.”
Leander has one match left in the regular season Friday on the road against Hays and is one game behind Lake Travis for fourth place in the district. The Lady Cavaliers have two games left and would need to lose one of them for the Lady Lions to have a chance at the postseason.
The Lady Lions combined for 62 digs and nine blocks. They committed 29 errors overall, but none of them happened on defensive plays.
“I was most proud of the defense,” Atkinson said. “When we played them last time, we didn’t match up really well. I was happy that our kids adjusted. They got us in the beginning but were able to adjust. That’s something you hope your kids can do throughout a match.”
Cedar Park 3, East View 0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-22)
CPHS next: Friday at Connally at 6:30 p.m.
Glenn 3, Lampasas 0 (25-11, 25-17, 25-18)
GHS next: Tuesday, Oct. 24 vs. Burnet at 6 p.m.