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SaberCats slash Golden Eagles

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Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 4:27 pm

EDINBURG — Brownsville Hanna shook things up by taking down Edinburg Vela in the first set.

However, the Lady SaberCats rallied to take the next three for a four-set victory in their Class 6A bi-district playoff match Tuesday in Edinburg.

Edinburg Vela’s win avenged a first-round loss to Hanna during last year’s playoffs, as they won 22-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-13. The Lady SaberCats, who took their sixth straight match, face either McAllen Memorial or Laredo LBJ in the area round.

Edinburg Vela, the District 31-6A champion, improved to 29-12 while District 32-6A fourth seed Hanna fell to 22-23. Lady SaberCats coach Araceli Ortega thought nerves played a factor as Hanna raced to a big lead in the first set.

“(Hanna) came out firing, and it took us a little while to adjust,” Ortega said. “We finally started recognizing, ‘Hey, we are at home,’ and we were able to play our game.”

Down 24-16, Edinburg Vela rattled off six straight points behind the service of Dayana Cantu before the Lady Eagles locked up the first set.

“Losing that first set woke us up,” Lady SaberCats senior Glenys Maldonado said. “We took that challenge. We reacted positively, and we got the next set.”

Edinburg Vela led by as many as six points early in the second set before Hanna forged a comeback, taking a 21-19 lead on a perfectly placed tap by middle hitter Odalys Gonzalez. Gonzalez was a force for Hanna, racking up 21 kills.

Edinburg Vela outscored the Lady Eagles 6-2 the rest of the way to claim the second set and square the match at 1.

Hanna’s Camille Atkinson produced 14 assists, and sophomore Rianna Trevino had eight digs.

Edinburg Vela engineered another six-point lead (10-4) during the third set before the Lady Eagles clawed back into it, taking a 17-16 lead on an ace by Gonzalez. Edinburg Vela regrouped and outscored Hanna 9-3 the rest of the way, capping the set with a block. The Lady SaberCats then overwhelmed Hanna in Set 4, never trailing, as they coasted to a 12-point win.

“I feel all the butterflies, nerves were gone (by the fourth set),” Maldonado said. “Everyone was talking to each other. We were pumping each other up.”

Ortega praised the efforts of her players.

“Our freshman, Fey Vasquez, really helped us in the middle,” Ortega said. “She was putting the ball where they weren’t, and that really helped us. Glenys Maldonado pulled through on some big plays. Of course, we’ve been banking on her all season.”

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