Lady Bears rally against Navarro

Lady Bears rally against Navarro
DAN SHERRARD/ "” The Lady Bears get pumped up before their Oct. 6 match against district rival Navarro. La Vernia rallied for a 3-2 win against the Lady Panthers, bringing their record to 4-0, 31-2.

What a match!

The Lady Bears earned a huge come-from-behind victory against their main district rivals, the Navarro Lady Panthers, Oct. 6 in La Vernia, struggling back from a two-set deficit to win, 3-2.

La Vernia came in to this grudge match ranked No. 3 on the Texas Girls Coaches Association 4A volleyball poll, only two spots above Navarro, who pulled off a Regional final upset last year against the Lady Bears, after the teams went 1-1 in district play.

The gym was packed with supportive fans from both sides, who knew they were in for a show, but the first two sets proved to be disappointing for the hometown crowd. The Lady Bear defense was overwhelmed by the Lady Panthers’ quick and powerful counterattacks, leading to two disheartening 25-17 losses.

“We got good tips on the outside, but the piggybacks are what got us,” said Head Coach Theresa Reyes. “We would go up with the first person instead of the second person who was making the contact.”

With the first two sets in the bag for Navarro, things were looking bleak for the Lady Bears.

“We couldn’t get on,” Reyes said. “I told them it’s do or die. You dug your hole and now you have to fix it. They came out and did their job.”

Did they ever! The third set started off with a big kill from freshman Lady Bear Meghan Stiefer, and suddenly the Lady Panthers were on their heels with a 25-14 loss.

Several La Vernia errors cut away another early lead in the fourth set, and the teams were forced to battle back and forth for the 2-point margin. A block by seniors Kennedy Adams and Chloe Patton sealed the close 29-27 win to stay in the match.

The tension had risen to a fevered pitch by the final set, and the Lady Bears held on to an uncomfortable lead. The score reached 14-10, when Navarro began to inch up toward an upset. The pressure proved too much for the Lady Panthers, however, and a service error sealed La Vernia’s 15-13 victory to win the match.

“They’re a smart team, so they’re going to find our holes,” Reyes said. “That man-up defense is new for us. It’s weird to have that one person behind just rovering. It shows that there are a lot of holes, but there really aren’t, because they’re good at getting to their spots on defense.”

The Lady Bears will need to be on their game from the start for their next match with the Lady Panthers -- the final match before playoffs -- as this one will be on their home turf in Geronimo.

Patton led the Lady Bears with 12 kills, followed by sophomore Madison Heinsohn with 10; freshman Addison Mulroney and Adams, eight; and Stiefer, seven. Senior Christa Reyes added three aces and Patton two more.

La Vernia seniors Reyes, Cymbrey Kappmeyer, and Kady Sczech shone on defense, along with Heinsohn, getting 35, 18, 14, and 12 digs, respectively. Stiefer and Heinsohn had five blocks at the net, while junior Alyssa Johnson, Adams, and Patton each had four.

The win brings the Lady Bears’ record to 4-0, 31-2. They took on Antonian Oct. 10 in San Antonio in non-district play, and travel to Wimberley Oct. 13.