MISSION — Sharyland High’s volleyball team showed off some impressive firepower at times against visiting Harlingen South.
However, the visiting Hawks showed that power isn’t the only way to win games. Using a series of tips, dinks and roll-over shots, Harlingen South claimed a 25-15, 25-21, 25-20 over the Rattlers on Tuesday in a non-district match.
Harlingen South improved to 9-0, while Sharyland dropped to 5-5 on the season.
The Hawks, led by hitter Mikela Mireles who ended the night with 21 kills, used a variety of attacks to jump out early and hold the lead in the first set, and come back from an 11-6 deficit in the second set.
“We were playing a perimeter defense and with that there are some openings and they were able to get the ball there,” Sharyland head coach Raul Castillo said. “We had to change it up and that helped.”
The third set saw more of a bump-set-kill approach from both teams and Sharyland played equal to its opponents during that span led by hitters Tristen Maddox and Marianna Martinez.
“They are a strong team and we knew that coming in,” Harlingen South head coach Anissa Lucio said. “We wanted to change up our shots and be smart with the ball. Controlling the first touch is key for us. Mikela stepped up, they all stepped up.”
Harlingen South has six seniors playing on the roster. The Hawks were coming off winning the Donna High tournament. South fell to McAllen High in last year’s playoffs and said they started right after that game preparing for this season with hopes of taking a veteran team to a deeper postseason run this year.
A pair of kills by each Maddox and Martinez during a 4-0 run pulled the Rattlers to within 15-14 in the third set. The teams went back and forth, each relying on their big guns — Mireles from Harlingen South and Maddox and Martinez from Sharyland, to throw their biggest punches at one another. The difference during that spell was the Hawks’ defense, which not only dug up many of the kill attempts, but also played well enough off the dig to set up an attack of their own.
A Maddox kill down the line kept Sharyland within 16-15, but a serve into the net and a pair of kills from Harlingen South’s Odemarys Vidana pushed the Hawks to a 20-16 lead. Sharyland would close to within 20-17 but no closer as the Class 6A Hawks finished the day off with a 5-3 run clinch the sweep.
“For us, it starts with the passing,” said Castillo, who could be heard throughout the match encouraging the girls to “keep swinging” at every kill opportunity. “We have to have a good first pass, especially when we are serve receiving, which hasn’t been there for us. That and defense. We’re working on feel, read and react but right now we are just not getting to our spots.
“We have girls who can attack, we saw that today. We just need to get the ball to them more so they can keep attacking.”