By Kyle Gregory
Despite opening the year with a shaky preseason, Lake Travis volleyball dominated Del Valle in its opening District 15-5A match Friday night in a 25-7, 25-12, 25-18 victory.
“This win feels great. It feels great just to start district and be out of pre-season. It means something, we’re really excited to be a part of this new district,” Lake Travis coach Jennifer Kazmierski said.
The win brings Lake Travis to 11-16 on the year, and should bring significant momentum to a team that has swooned somewhat after finishing last year with a 50-0 record.
“Because we had won state last year, we knew people would be gunning for us because we were top dogs last year – then they looked at preseason and didn’t know what to think,” said junior Amanda Wolken. “I don’t know what people are going to think now, but I know what we’re going to do. We’re going to show them our game.”
The Lady Cavs were on from the get-go in the first game. After dropping the opening point, Lake Travis raced to a 6-1 lead and cruised from there.
The Lake Travis offense started hot again in the second game, going up 7-2, but a couple of service errors and some solid defense by Del Valle allowed the Cardinals to pull within two, 10-8. Del Valle’s rally was short-lived, however, as the Lady Cavs rattled off six straight points behind the solid service of Danielle DeWitt, ensuring a comfortable victory.
“We were definitely positive today. We try to keep positive energy on the court the whole time, no matter if you made a mistake or not,” senior Marisa Ochoa said. “That was one of the things that hurt us in the preseason, that negative virus getting into the team and then infecting everybody else.”
The biggest test for the Lady Cavs came in the third game. The two teams exchanged leads for the early part of the game, as Lake Travis was unable to get into a rhythm on offense and they were once again wounded by service errors. After being tied 14-14, a devastating kill by Melodi Ramirez changed the momentum of the game and put the Lady Cavs ahead for good.
“In the third game, we took a time out and talked about getting on our jobs. If everybody does their job then the system works,” Kazmierski said.
Ramirez and Claire McCown led the team in kills, with 10 and nine respectively. Corey Cable dished out 17 assists and contributed three digs, while Kaitland Currier added 16 assists and three aces. Ochoa and Olivia Thorpe each had blocks, and DeWitt delivered three aces. Defensively, Hayley Mahlum led the team with six digs.
“We have a big chart that we put in our locker room with all the district matches on it where we keep track of all of our wins and losses and our goal is to win a district championship,” Kazmierski said. “Starting out 1-0 in district starts building that seam for what we’re trying to do.”
Lake Travis hosts Bowie in their second district match Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Then the Lady Cavs are at Westlake 6:30 p.m. Friday for a much-anticipated match.