ARTICLE BY TONY VENEGAS: ODESSA AMERICAN
The Odessa College volleyball team had to deal with a reshuffled lineup against Frank Phillips College, but the result was still the same as it was in nearly every other match.
The Lady Wranglers overcame a slow start in the first set Saturday and took care of business to earn a 25-18, 25-15, 25-17 sweep over the Lady Plainsmen at the OC Sports Center in Western Junior College Athletic Conference play.
"Any win is a good win, but this one does feel especially good," Odessa College head coach Kristi Gray said. "We had to throw a different line up out there than we're normally used to but people stepped up today."
"I was out for a week last week too because I was sick," Marenco said. "I wasn't completely in shape, but I felt like I did what I had to in order to help the team win."
Odessa College (24-1, 6-1 WJCAC) shook off an early 6-2 deficit in the first set and ran off four consecutive points to even things up at 6-6. A key moment during that run was when Carol Santana made two diving digs to keep the rally going before the Wranglers finished off the point.
The set remained close throughout and was even at 15-15 before the Lady Wranglers closed out with a 10-3 run, highlighted by kills from Santana and Maria Rodrigues. Santana had a team-high nine kills and eight digs while Rodrigues had seven kills and two blocks.
"That's probably one of the best games that Carol has had defensively," Gray said. "She's been more of a threat on the offensive side, but she stepped up today with a player down and did a great job."
Odessa College got off to a blistering start in the second set with 10 points in a row to open up a comfortable lead. After a timeout, Frank Phillips College (10-14, 2-5) regrouped and cut the deficit to 12-6. The Lady Plainsmen, however, could not get any closer as the Lady Wranglers with another six-point run to create more distance and take the second set.
"It's not a secret that we haven't started off very well in the second set," Gray said. "One of our goals this week was to make that change and I think we came out with more energy and did a good job of doing so.
After a back-and-forth start, Odessa College took a 9-5 in the third set highlighted by blocks from Lexi Parrish and Luisa Silva Dos Santos. Parrish had six kills and three blocks for the match and Dos Santos added seven kills.
Frank Phillips College did not go away and eventually got back to within a point at 16-15. The Lady Wranglers, however, made sure that the match did not go a fourth set as Parrish and Dos Santos combined for two kills and a block on the final three points to close out the match.
"Every time we have our blocking on point, it brings us a lot of energy," Parrish said. "Everything else just flows together after that."
The Lady Wranglers will now have a week to prepare for their next match against New Mexico Military Institute, the only team to beat Odessa College so far this season. That match is set for next at 3 p.m. Oct. 19 in Roswell, N.M.
"I'm glad that we get a week off to prepare," Gray said. "It'll give us a chance to rest and recover and we'll break down the film and get ready for NMMI. They're a great team and it will be a tough match."