Now that the 2021 regular season is winding down, Odessa College volleyball coach Dayana Acevedo-Rios believes her team is running its offense at a higher level than it was at the beginning of the campaign.
That showed in the Lady Wranglers’ 25-14, 25-13, 25-19 win over Frank Phillips College in Western Junior College Athletic Conference play Wednesday at the OC Sports Center.
“At the beginning we were just relying on our outside hitters a lot,” Acevedo-Rios said. “I feel like now our middles are getting involved a little bit better. We’ve been practicing a lot in different shots, not just hitting straight down.
“Just taking care of the ball and finding ways to get an easy kill, I feel like that showed today.”
Daniela Rodrigues led the Lady Wranglers with 14 kills, followed by Ainara Fernandes who had nine.
Odessa College (13-5 overall, 6-4 conference) went into its match against Frank Phillips College on a two-match losing streak with their most recent loss coming against New Mexico Junior College.
The Lady Wranglers were able to take control of the match from the start, led by key moments from their players up at the front line.
The joint effort from those players helped Odessa College when things got difficult at points in the match.
“We did a good job together,” Yasmin Figueiredo said. “We played together and we had fun.”
The middle blocker had eight blocks for the Lady Wranglers.
After building up to a 12-8 lead, Odessa College outscored Frank Phillips College 13-6 to take a first set.
Things got closer at the start of the second set, as the teams would get tied up five times before the Lady Wranglers found an offensive rhythm, sparked by blocks from Figueiredo, Myllena Torquetti and Sydney Collins.
The visiting Lady Plainsmen would take a timeout when the Lady Wranglers took an 11-5 lead, but Odessa College outscored them 14-8 to get closer to a sweep.
The third set proved to be more competitive, even with Odessa College taking an early 4-1 advantage.
Frank Phillips (12-12, 2-7) knotted things up at 9-9 and held Odessa College to a one point lead when it would jump in front until the Lady Wranglers went on a 4-0 scoring run to lead 16-11.
Despite going on a 4-0 scoring run of their own to cut into the lead, Frank Phillips College couldn’t get much going late and Odessa College secured the sweep.
It was the Lady Wranglers last home match of the season, where they recognized four sophomores before the match.
Acevedo-Rios said she was proud of what Collins, Figueiredo, Serenity Mamizuka and Lyric Love have provided for the program.
“It’s not sad, if anything it’s happy at the fact that they have been doing great things,” she said. “I’m excited to see what’s next for them in the next chapter.
Odessa College continues conference play against Clarendon College at 6 p.m. next Wednesday in Clarendon.
The Lady Wranglers are 1-3 on the road this season, something Acevedo-Rios hopes the team could fix in its next two matches.
“I think it’s because it’s a lot of distraction when you go on the road,” she said. “When you’re home you have your routine and I feel like right now it’s been hard for them to find their routine when we’re away from home.
“They’re going to give everything that they have and play hard.”
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Odessa College def. Frank Phillips College
25-14, 25-13, 25-19
Wednesday at OC Sports Center
Kills — Odessa College: Daniela Rodrigues 14, Ainara Fernandes 9, Yasmin Figueiredo 8, Sydney Collins 6, Elif Yasar 4, Myllena Torquetti 3.
Blocks — Odessa College: Figueiredo 8, Fernandes 3, Collins 3, Rodrigues 2, Yasar 1.
Assists — Odessa College: Yasar 40.
Digs — Odessa College: Serenity Mamizuka 21, Rodrigues 10, Yasar 8, Figueiredo 7, Torquetti 6, Isil Yilmaz 5, Fernandes 3.
Aces — Odessa College: Fernandes 1, Figueiredo 1.
Frank Phillips College 12-12 overall, 2-7 WJCAC; Odessa College 13-5, 6-4.