HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL: Midland Lee pulls away from tough challenge by Odessa High - Odessa American: Oavarsity

HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL: Midland Lee pulls away from tough challenge by Odessa High

By Tony Venegas tvenegas@oaoa.com, 432-333-7649 | Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 9:00 pm

The Odessa High volleyball team went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in District 2-6A but it was Midland Lee who found a way to finish.

The Lady Rebels made late runs in each set to complete the sweep of Odessa High, 25-20, 25-18, 25-22, Tuesday at the OHS Fieldhouse.

“We led for the majority of the first set because we hadn’t done that yet in district play and that was good to see,” Odessa High head coach Victoria Smith said. “But we’re still working on finishing. We had our dips and we hung in the match but we just gave away the last few points.”

The first set was evenly matched early as both teams exchanged the first six points. Odessa High (12-17, 0-3 District 2-6A) was the first team to find a couple of early runs.

However, the Lady Bronchos built a 7-4 lead before Lee came back to quickly even things up. The second run saw Odessa High build a 14-9 lead before Lee head coach Amy Long called timeout.

The Lady Rebels (25-5, 2-1) regrouped and after one of nine kills from Yali Flores, Lee roared back to regain the lead.

Both teams were even at 19-19 but the Lady Rebels closed the set on a 6-1 run.

“Odessa High is a good team,” Midland Lee head coach Amy Long said. “I think they came out a lot better than what the girls were expecting early on.

“They (Odessa High) did a great job by throwing us off of our system a lot and we had to come back from that. Our girls were saying that they fought hard and that it was a tough game.”

The Bronchos started strong in the second set, opening a 3-1 lead. The Rebels, however, put together their biggest run of the match by running off seven straight points to open up an 8-3 lead.

The turning point came during that run when the Bronchos were going to earn a point after Lee was scrambling on its own side of the court. The Lady Rebels kept the rally alive and outside hitter Jensen Letcher pushed the ball over to earn an unlikely point to spark the run.

“It was a big moment in the match for us,” Long said. “It gets everyone hyped up again. We’ve had that done to us where we celebrated a little bit too early and it comes back to get you.”

Odessa High stayed within striking distance through most of the second set but a late 8-2 Lee run gave the Lady Rebels the second set.

The third set started as a see-saw battle as Lee ran off four straight points to open before Odessa High answered with six straight of its own that started with an Alexis Luna kill. The Lady Bronchos eventually built a 12-7 lead but the Lady Rebels charged back again with another five-point run.

The rest of the set played out similarly to the start of the match and both teams were even at 19-19 again at one point. Brianna McClure had two of her team-high 10 kills down the stretch to keep Odessa High in the match but Lee held on as a Paige Prather kill closed out the match.

Even in defeat, Smith said that her team showed a lot of fight and progress against the Lady Rebels.

“I thought our physical and mental game almost came together tonight compared to the first two district games,” Smith said. “When it completely clicks, I think we’re going to have some good things happening.”