Photo by Gerald Castillo
Lady Rattlers struggle, swept by Schertz Clemens, 3-0
The offensive firepower from Shertz Clemens was too much for the Lady Rattlers.
San Marcos (15-20 overall, 1-3 district) ran into two of the top teams in its district so far in Cibolo Steele and Clemens (29-4, 4-0). Its last two opponents have a combined 7-1 record in district play and have won against the hosts with powerful kills and crowd-silencing runs. The Lady Buffaloes collected 44 kills on 40.4 percent attacking, which helped them sweep the purple and white inside the Snake Pit on Tuesday, 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-13).
Clemens came into the match with a 20-game win streak on the line and is 18-0 in league play dating back to last season. The Lady Buffaloes also haven't dropped a set since Aug. 30 of this year. Their power hitting and miscues from San Marcos’ defense allowed them to take advantage and gain momentum over the hosts early on the road.
After letting the visitors get on the scoreboard first, senior outside hitter Jordan Helbig returned the favor with a nice tip pass over the middle, followed by two kills from junior outside hitter Layla Diaz, giving the Lady Rattlers a 3-2 lead. The hosts hung around until Clemens found a rhythm midway through the set by going on an 8-0 run, silencing the crowd's noise and forcing a timeout from its opponent. Junior outside hitter Riley Dow got her first kill of the night, but the team from Shertz snapped back with three kills of its own. A spike attempt that failed to clear the net awarded the visitors the first set, 25-12.
Even after a double-digit loss, San Marcos’ toughness remained intact.
A netball from the visitors opened up set two. Helbig got a quick kill to the left corner of the court, establishing an early lead for her team. The score went back and forth as each team played through long rallies and hard spikes that sped up the game at a tremendous rate. Diaz received a cross-court pass from senior setter Jordan Helbig, pounded the ball into the heart of the defense, igniting the team and the crowd as the score sat tied at 16 all. The Lady Buffaloes retaliated with two points of their own before San Marcos called a timeout.
After the brief intermission, Clemens strengthened its forces at the net, blocking two of the final three points to take the set, 25-19.
The Lady Buffaloes set the tone of the final set by starting on a 4-0 run, which forced the hosts to play catchup throughout the rest of the match. The Lady Rattlers managed to cut the lead to three following a seven-point deficit, but senior outside hitter Shelby O'Neal put together three-straight kills for Clemens. San Marcos’ offense seemed to let the score get to its head towards the final stretch of the match, as the team was tacked with two errors and a netball that awarded Clemens win No. 21 in a row, 25-13.
Senior libero Julia Gutierrez finished with a team-high 11 digs. Diaz paced the team with six kills, while five players on the purple and white finished with a perfect serve percentage.
“Our serving game is one of our strengths, so we need to definitely use that every match that we play,” head coach Michelle Moreno said. “Our serve/receive got better in the second set, which I feel helped us to execute offensively, so we just have to continue to work at it. We’ve got things we gotta work on and take it one day at a time.”
San Marcos will travel to Spring Branch to face off against Smithson Valley on Friday at 7 p.m. With more than half of the district left to play, Moreno will continue to keep the team’s morale up going into another tough matchup on the road.
“We just keep fighting. It’s going to be a fight every night,” Moreno said. “Tonight we just made some mistakes that cost us and we played a really good team. I just gotta keep their heads up. And I know that they’re working and they’ve got to know that I know they’re working hard, so it's just putting in the work and being willing to fight.”