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Antelope picks up first win, sweeps San Pasqual
As the Antelope junior varsity volleyball coach last year, James Jones remembers how his team got its first win in the third match of the season — the first of winning an impressive 11 of 13 the rest of the season.
Now the Rams varsity coach, Jones is hoping that Antelope's 25-10, 25-11, 25-8 win at San Pasqual on Tuesday will help produce the same result this season.
“The girls are really young and it's really exciting because they have to learn how to play,” Jones said. “They're still learning how to play. I'm really impressed by that every day they're get better and better.”
The Rams (1-4) started the year with a couple of tough losses — including a five-game loss to both San Luis and Parker.
“It was frustrating but we knew we could have beat them and that we're still a good team,” said Antelope senior middle blocker Jacey Burks, who led the Rams with nine aces and five kills.
“It's just about closing out games,” Jones said. “With young teams, that's how it is. You have to be patient as a coach.”
Burks picked up three aces and two kills in the first game of the match, and the Warriors (0-4) struggled to get anything going offensively. Half of San Pasqual's 10 points in the first game came from service errors by Antelope — although senior middle blocker Marissa Miller had two kills and sophomore outside hitter Darlene Teton had a pair of aces for the Warriors.
The second game appeared it would be another quick victory for Antelope after a kill by junior Jasmine Lozano put the Rams up 18-8. Then, out of nowhere, the Warriors made a run, scoring seven straight points behind four aces by senior middle blocker Tatianna Damon to cut the lead to 18-15.
Burks added two more aces to extend the Antelope lead to 23-16 — but San Pasqual wouldn't go away. Miller got another kill and Audura Barton picked up an ace and kill for the Warriors, who cut the deficit to 24-21. But Barton couldn't handle an Antelope attack on the following point, and San Pasqual's best chance at winning a game slipped away.
“They know how to play. When it all meshes together, they do well,” San Pasqual coach Leah Buchanan said. “They know their positions, they know how to play, they're good girls, they got the game down. It's just that sometimes it falls into place and sometimes it doesn't.”
Antelope, which had 11 combined service errors in the first two games, played a relatively clean final game. They made two service errors but only when the match was well out of reach. Burke had two kills and two aces while junior Marianna Lopez had four kills for the Rams in the third game.
“It was nice to see them be able to focus in that last game and finish it up,” Jones said.