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Lady Raiders sweep Lady Eagles

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Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2019 7:19 pm

Brownsville Rivera’s 2019-20 volleyball campaign in District 32-6A is off to a strong start.

The Lady Raiders (21-9, 1-0 32-6A) swept Brownsville Hanna on the road, 25-20, 25-16, 25-16, in what was the first match of district play for both teams.

“Our girls played awesome,” Rivera coach Elizabeth Avelar-Guerra said. “They played together, they played without fear and they communicated well. (Hanna) has some good hitters on that side, and there were some good battles back and forth. I’m really proud of the way we stepped up today.”

Rivera got out to a 5-2 lead in the first game, before Odalys Gonzalez sparked a 5-0 run for the home team that put the Lady Eagles (4-11, 0-1 32-6A) in front, capped by a Gonzalez kill that made the score 8-6.

But Hanna’s lead was short-lived, as Rivera hung on for a 25-20 win in a competitive first game that ended on a kill by sophomore middle blocker/right side hitter Alondra Garza.

Hanna’s Aliyah Castillo narrowed the margin back to four at 19-15 in the third game after she and the Hanna back line made an impressive save to extend a rally that set her up for a kill and gave the Lady Eagles a momentum boost in an otherwise lopsided affair.

The Lady Raiders surged ahead 9-1 to open the second game, in which Rivera unleashed sophomore middle blocker Kenya Ibarra. Ibarra delivered a pair of kills in the late stages of the game, including one that put the Lady Raiders up 21-11, giving Rivera its largest lead of the day.

Ibarra’s play helped counter Odalys Gonzalez’s strong performance in a losing effort, particularly during the third game, which remained a close game until Ibarra helped Rivera pull away with a kill via a powerful spike that put the Lady Raiders ahead 16-12.

“(Ibarra) played an awesome game,” Avelar-Guerra said. I think she was just ready to play today. She’s an awesome player, and she’s been playing well for us all season.”

Rivera junior outside hitter Christina Garza and sophomore middle blocker Kimberly Chavez were effective in slowing down Gonzalez and the Hanna attack by disrupting shots near the net, and also in providing chances for Ibarra, Rivera’s big hitter.

Ibarra seemed to increase her intensity after each point her team earned, and that trickled down to the rest of the team.

“We had some plays where we had to move (the ball) around,” Avelar-Guerra said. “The other girls came through, too. It was a team effort.”

Hanna is slated to visit Harlingen High at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, and Rivera is scheduled to travel to play Los Fresnos at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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