Lady Rattlers defeat Alamo Heights, earn Moreno 300th win
The final whistle blew and streamers came flying out of the stands. Chants of “three-hun-dred” amplified as the Lady Rattlers gathered around their head coach, Michelle Moreno.
San Marcos had just sealed a 3-2 victory over Alamo Heights inside the Snake Pit on Tuesday night. The win marked Moreno’s 300th as a head coach.
“For me, I’ll never forget this, of course it being the 300th win is always something special,” Moreno said. “But this game, regardless of what number it is, it’s unforgettable.”
The Lady Rattlers began the night on a sluggish start. Mistakes piled up and they fell behind fast. A 6-0 run from the Lady Mules put them ahead by a huge 19-4 margin. The team eventually found their footing, though.
Senior middle blocker Devin Branch scored on the next two plays with a kill and a block. It sparked a rally that helped San Marcos avoid what would have been its worst set of the season. The Lady Rattlers couldn’t complete the comeback, losing the first game 25-19, but the momentum carried over.
The team took the next set, 25-14.
“(We just needed to) forget about it and move onto the next one because it’s in the past, you can’t do nothing about it,” senior outside hitter Madison Mendez said. “So, we just strived to be better the next play and fix the mistakes you made.”
San Marcos suffered another setback when it dropped the third game, 25-17. One set away from losing the match, the Lady Rattlers looked to turn up the intensity.
Alamo Heights kept things close in the fourth set, and came back from being down six points to tie the game at 24-24. Both teams traded points on the next eight plays, neither able to secure a two-point lead for the win.
Finally, a kill from senior middle blocker Shyeann Lampkin off a feed from junior setter Jade Olivo pushed San Marcos out in front and junior outside hitter Jordan Helbig scored the set-winning point to tie the match back up, 2-2.
Things didn’t get much easier in the final game. The Lady Mules came from behind once again to tie the game up at 13-13. The Lady Rattlers still found a way to make it work.
Lampkin rose for a soft tip that went untouched to take the lead back and Mendez sealed the victory with an ace on her next serve. San Marcos took the fifth set, 15-13, and the match, 3-2.
“I think we all knew that we had to start off strong, because sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t,” senior libero Celie Contreras said. “But I think this time, we were like ‘We need to start off strong and have good momentum and go on a rhythm.’ And once that started to happen, it just kind of came to us.”
Moreno said the type of fight the Lady Rattlers displayed is exactly what it will take to continue winning as the team heads into district play, beginning Friday at East Central at 7 p.m.
“It’s a special night. I’m really proud of the girls. They did this,” Moreno said. “I remember my 200th win in Corpus (Christi), I remember my 150th win over at Judson. I do remember my wins, and the teams are special to me. But, like I said, this one was definitely one that we had to fight for, and I’m so proud of the girls for their effort.”