George Ranch falls in five to Klein Collins to open season

George Ranch sophomore outside hitter Avery Shimaitis swings through a Klein Collins block in Tuesday’s match at George Ranch High School.

The George Ranch volleyball team has enough talent to be one of the top teams in the area. But the key factor for the Longhorns in the early part of the season is, can the young players learn to win in tough situations?

The Longhorns got their first lesson in how to pull out tough wins the hard way on Tuesday evening, as Klein Collins went on an 11-0 run in the fifth set to come from behind in a 15-9 win to capture the opening match of the 2019 season for both teams, 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 25-14, 23-25, 15-9) at the George Ranch High School gym.

After a slow start, George Ranch rallied from a 7-1 deficit to take a 20-17 lead. A couple of hitting errors by Klein Collins got the Longhorns a win in the first set.

Klein Collins took the next two sets as the Tigers went on a 12-7 run to boost them to a 25-22 win in the third set, and built up a 17-9 lead to win the fourth set, 25-14.

George Ranch trailed in the fourth set by four, but a block by sophomore middle blocker Allie Sczech, an ace by junior setter Caitlin Kurtz and a Tiger hitting error tied the score at 12. Another Sczech block, along with kills by sophomore outside hitter Avery Shimaitis and junior outside hitter Paris Donovan helped the Longhorns to get a 25-23 win to send the match to a fifth set.

The momentum stayed on George Ranch’s side with a 6-1 run to open the fifth set, which grew to 9-4 before Klein Collins got two kills and a block by junior setter Mekalia Aupiu to spark an 11-0 Tiger run to get the win.

“We’re a very young squad and I think the experience that our young players got last year will help us,” George Ranch head coach Cheyanne Forshee said. “I think that nerves kind of got us. But I think if we learn as a team to be able to contain our nerves and use that adrenaline to be able to push us in the right direction, it’s going to be really good (for us).”

Sophomore middle blocker Logan Lednicky led the Longhorns with 12 kills and nine blocks while hitting .391, with Sczech adding 11 kills and Donovan with seven blocks. Junior defensive specialist Briana Steubing had four aces and junior outside hitter Alexandra Tennon had 11 digs and 14 assists.

George Ranch (0-1) will head to Pearland this weekend to participate in the Adidas Texas Volleyball Invitational, beginning on Thursday.

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