VENUS — After their four-set loss to Glen Rose, the Midlothian Heritage Jaguar volleyball team has now run off two consecutive sweeps over district foes.
The Jaguars followed the Tuesday, Oct. 3 home win over Stephenville with a tidy road win in Venus on Friday, Oct. 6 (25-10, 25-4, 25-10).
Though the win took less than one hour to complete, the pace of the Lady Bulldogs was slower than the Jaguars would have liked to play. Even still, first-year Heritage head volleyball coach Timmi Blackshear said the speed did not affect her team or its gameplan.
"I always try to coach them up and tell them that you do not want to allow the other team on their side of the court to control your tempo," Blackshear explained. "That kind of goes both ways. When it gets to our side, we try to speed things up by how quickly we get the ball to the center and the center to the hitter. There’s an opposite side of that as well. Some teams play faster than we do right now. So, there’s the same thing on the reverse. Sometimes we have to slow it down.”
Heritage, now 26-2 on the season and 7-1 in District 8-4A, entered the contest as the No. 2-ranked team for the second-straight week in the Texas Girls Coaches Association's 4A poll. District rival Glen Rose dropped to No. 4 after its non-district loss last Tuesday, Oct. 3.
The win also ties the personal high-water mark for Blackshear in her young coaching career. The coach surpassed the 100-win plateau earlier this season after joining the Heritage staff from Cleburne.
On Friday, Kelsey Carpenter led the Jaguars with eight kills and now has 264 on the season — second on the team behind Julia Valdez and her 266 kills. Valdez had six kills to go with two blocks and four digs in the sweep of Venus.
Valdez and Carpenter have helped to comprise an astoundingly balanced five-Jaguar attack this season.
Katie Greer joins the two in the 250-kill club with, well, 250 kills on the season, while Hannah Larson (198) and Karena Tipton (182) follow close behind.
In the sweep of Venus, Tipton added five kills on seven swings, Greer had seven and Larson finished with three.
Tori Needles, who leads the Jaguars with 678 assists on the season, added 23 to her total on Friday, while Rachel Richie added eight assists to bring her to 547 on the year.
With digs at a premium in the lopsided win, Chambers led the team with seven, and Carpenter added four to match Valdez.
Heritage took Tuesday off and returns to the court on the road Friday against Godley. Friday's match begins at 4:30 p.m.
Blackshear said her team will use the time off to continue addressing small nuances of their game, as it is still a work in progress.
“We will always be fine tuning and continuing to work on those the things that we can and continue to minimize unforced errors and make good decisions with the ball,” Blackshear said.
She added, “We still needed to clean up a few things.”
The Jaguars then face Life Waxahachie on the road Tuesday, Oct. 17 and are at Alvarado on Friday, Oct. 20.
Heritage closes out the regular season at home Tuesday, Oct. 24 against Glen Rose.
*Additional reporting by Mike Sackett/Mirror