Short-handed Lady Rattlers come up short against East Central
During the first set, Julia Antu faked the pass.
Instead of dishing to one of the Lady Rattlers’ hitters, the sophomore setter tapped the ball over the net to an empty space on the East Central side of the court. The ball plopped onto the hardwood, giving San Marcos its biggest lead of the night, up 20-12.
The Lady Hornets came back, though. They ate away at the lead three and four points at a time, coming within two points late in the frame, down 24-22. San Marcos was able to close out the set, but the momentum carried throughout the rest of the match, as the Lady Hornets won the next three sets, beating San Marcos at home on Tuesday, 3-1.
“We came out really strong in that first set and then we just kind of lost our focus,” head coach Michelle Moreno said.
The Lady Rattlers didn’t use their normal rotation. Sophomore middle blocker Samantha Booth was returning to her first game since suffering a concussion, and senior middle blocker Devin Branch was limited due to a knee injury.
“We’ve had some players that were out,” Moreno said. “So, we just tried to switch things up. I thought the players that filled in did pretty well.”
Still, the team wasn’t used seeing so many fresh faces. San Marcos fell in the second set, 25-17. The issues persisted in the third frame.
The Lady Rattlers went back and forth with the Lady Hornets for nearly the entire set. But on one play, senior middle blocker Shyeann Lampkin dove for a loose ball and bumped her head on the floor in the process. Moreno took her out of the game.
Lampkin returned nine points later, with San Marcos trailing 19-20. But by then, the team was already out of rhythm. East Central took the third set, 25-23, then the fourth, 25-16.
“That was probably the tightest set of the night,” Moreno said of the third set. “We played in spurts. We’d play really hard, but then we’d let them come back. And nothing against East Central, but I think that we hurt ourselves more than they hurt us. So, we just need to work on that inconsistent effort.”
East Central’s win moves them to 18-15 overall and 5-3 in district, while San Marcos falls to 16-21 and 0-8. Moreno hopes that, with more consistency, her team can keep up the same energy it had in the first set.
“(We have to) just keep practicing,” Moreno said. “Try to get to a place where our mental ability is in the same place as our physical ability.”
The Lady Rattlers will hit the road on Friday as they travel to play Converse Judson at 7 p.m.