HOUSTON – George Ranch head volleyball coach Cheyanne Forshee knew that her team was shorthanded on Tuesday.
The Longhorns were without junior opposite hitter Allie Sczech, who was out due to COVID-19 protocols for the last few matches.
Not having the 6-foot-4 hitter for Tuesday’s match was key against Houston Memorial, who had four players who were 6-feet or taller.
Without their junior hitter, George Ranch could not muster enough offense in a three-set loss to Memorial in the area round of the 6A playoffs Tuesday night at Coleman Coliseum, losing 25-19, 25-23, 25-16.
“Missing Allie on the right side is huge, it’s a huge loss for us,” Forshee said. “Anytime you’re missing that kind of player, that kind of kid, her presence was felt.
“I give credit to (Memorial), but I can’t deny that we had a disadvantage.”
Both teams traded points in the first set, but Memorial took advantage of three straight hitting errors to spark a 10-0 run for the Mustangs, leading 20-9. The lead grew to 23-12 before George Ranch went on a 9-2 run to pull within five points, but a service error ended the set in Memorial’s favor.
The second set also started close as George Ranch jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Memorial answered with an 11-3 run of its own to take an 11-6 lead. Junior middle blocker Logan Lednicky sparked the Longhorns with two kills, a block and an ace to cut the deficit to a point at 15-14, but George Ranch couldn’t put together a run and lost the second set in close fashion.
Senior outside hitter/setter Alexandra Tennon started the third set with two aces to help the Longhorns take a 4-0 lead, and had a 7-5 lead before Memorial answered with a 7-3 run of its own, led by three kills from outside hitter Lyla Traylor to lead 12-10. Lednicky got two kills to help cut the lead to 16-14, but Memorial went on a 7-0 run to take a 23-14 lead, and got the final two points to close out the sweep.
George Ranch struggled in its hitting throughout the match, with a team hitting percentage of -.025 and had 26 hitting errors.
Lednicky led the Longhorns with 12 kills, with Shimatis adding seven. Tennon led the team with 12 assists, five blocks and 13 digs. Seniors setter Caitlin Kurtz and libero Briana Steubing each had 10 digs.
Memoral advanced to the Region III quarterfinals, where they faced Katy.
While the loss was the final match for six seniors on the team – including Tennon, Kurtz and Steubing – the Longhorns will have Shimatis, Lednicky and Sczech back as seniors in 2021.
“It’s not going to be a total rebuilding,” Forshee said.