All season long, the Terry volleyball team felt like it could challenge for the fourth spot in District 24-5A and make a move to the postseason. But to get there, the Lady Rangers had to knock off the team that held the fourth spot last year.
While a very young Terry squad started strong against a senior-laden Hightower team, the Lady Hurricanes finished strong and pulled out a five-set win at Ranger Gym, 21-25, 17-25, 25-18, 25-22, 16-14 to move to 2-0 in district play and put an early damper on Terry’s playoff hopes.
“We’re not mentally strong,” a frustrated Terry head coach L. Ali Gonzalez said. “That’s all I can say. We’re not a mentally strong team.”
Terry suffered a tough pre-match injury as junior outside hitter Ckyra Anthony went down and did not play in the match. “She’s our bread-and-butter,” Gonzalez said.
The Lady Rangers started off like they wouldn’t miss Anthony’s hitting by jumping out to a 17-10 lead as kills by sophomore setter Jayden Garza and sophomore outside hitter Raven Jordan helped Terry get a 25-21 win in the first set.
The momentum carried into the second set as Terry took a 14-7 lead and held off the Lady ’Canes thanks to back-to-back aces by senior hitter Mallory Jones and a couple of kills by Jordan to win the set, 25-17.
But Hightower finally got things together in the third set and jumped out to an 11-4 lead, taking advantage of Terry hitting errors. The Lady Rangers rallied to tie the set at 13, but the Lady ’Canes outscored Terry 7-1 at the end of the set to get a 25-18 win.
Hightower again started out strong, taking an early 10-5 lead. Senior middle blocker Alexis Bell got two blocks and a kill to help the Lady ’Canes increase their lead to 20-12.
Down 23-16, Terry went on a 6-0 run with two aces by sophomore outside hitter Cayla Anthony, a kill by Garza and two Hightower hitting errors. But back-to-back kills by middle blocker Victoria Chidomere sealed the win for Hightower, 25-22.
Both teams came out strong for the fifth set, as Terry jumped out to a 4-1 lead, only to watch Hightower tie it up. Terry took a 14-12 lead on a Hightower hitting error, but two kills by Bell and two aces by senior setter Claudia Ayerite gave the Lady ’Canes the close win.
Hightower moves to 5-14 on the season and 2-0 in district play, while Terry drops to 10-11 overall and 1-1 in district.
Terry will head to a tournament at Willowridge on Thursday and Saturday, with a district match at Shadow Creek sandwiched in between on Friday.