Alpine Volleyball Coach Rick Keith didn't know how his girls would react Tuesday evening as they hosted the Marathon Lady Mustangs and Monahans Lady Lobos. After all, they had mixed results last weekend in the Crane Tournament, where they lost in the championship semi-finals and in the third place match after playing so well in pool play Friday.
Not to worry: the Lady Bucks are still on track to reach their season goals, as they had no problem with Marathon, and, though they lost to Monahans in four games, showed flashes of State Tournament caliber play.
Against the Lady Mustangs to start things off, Aliston Pogue started things off with a block at the net on the first volleyball of the evening. Alpine reeled off the first 12 points of the game in cruising to a 25-5 win.
In game number two, the Lady Bucks jumped out to a 6-1 lead. Marathon battled back to close their deficit to 8-6; but Alpine stretched their lead out to 10 points at 22-12 before prevailing 25-17 with Christina Ruiz closing it out with an ace.
In game number three, the Lady Bucks jumped out on top 5-0 before the Lady Mustangs scored a point. The closest Marathon got was four points as Alpine went on to win 25-14.
After the Monahans Lady Lobos dispatched Marathon in three straight in the second match, the Lady Bucks and Lady Lobos, both of whom made appearance at the State Tournament last November, matched up for the first time this year.
Ruiz started things off on a positive note in the first game with an ace on her first serve. A Pogue kill tied the game at six. Monahans then ran off five straight points and were never challenged on the way to a 25-9 win over Alpine.
Game number two was not much better for the Lady Bucks with Monahans taking an early 7-1 advantage. Some unforced service errors by Alpine kept the girls from mounting an momentum, and the Lady Lobos again dominated 25-11.
If Alpine fans had any reservations about the resolve of the Lady Bucks, those fears were put to rest in game number three. Mimi Fort had two straight kills to jumpstart the Alpine attack. The Lady Bucks played well at the net as Paige Kinucan and Pogue combined on a devastating block to make the score 11-6 Alpine; then Kinucan teamed with Laci Langford on a block to push the lead to 14-7. Alpine held their largest lead at 20-12. Monahans came roaring back behind the outstanding play of All-State player Brittany Hughes, and closed the gap to 22-20. A kill by Chelsea McIntyre made it 23-20, and Langford closed it out on a kill for the Lady Buck win 25-22.
Unfortunately in game four, the Lady Lobos were back in game on form. After a hard kill by Kinucan brought the Alpine girls to within 8-5, Monahans ran off eight straight points and put the Lady Bucks away 25-12.
With the win over Marathon and loss to Monahans, the Lady Bucks record now stands at 17-9. According to the schedule, the Lady Bucks will be hosting Fort Stockton, along with Marathon, Saturday afternoon in the Alpine High School gym with action getting underway at 1 p.m.
In freshmen play Tuesday, the Lady Bucks had but one match to play against Monahans. The Lady Lobo freshmen turned out to be a younger version of their state caliber varsity squad, as they took two straight games from the Alpine freshmen, who were coming off a championship last weekend in Fort Stockton. Monahans won the match 25-14 and 25-17.
The Alpine Lady Buck freshmen are scheduled to take part in the Greenwood 9th Grade Tournament this Saturday.
In action involving the Lady Buck junior varsity, Coach Ruth McWilliams charges couldn't keep up the momentum from their third place finish in the Fort Stockton Tournament last weekend as they dropped two matches. The girls fell to Valentine 21-25 and 15-25. They were also defeated by the Monahans junior varsity 15-25 and 22-25. The two J.V. matches were played in the Alpine Middle School gym. The Lady Buck J.V. will be taking part in the Fort Davis Junior Varsity Tournament this Friday and Saturday.