After a full week off, Harker Heights returned to the court Tuesday for its District 8-6A opener.
Things did not go as planned for the Lady Knights, though.
Playing at home, Shoemaker emerged with a five-set victory, winning 21-25, 26-24, 25-17, 20-25, 15-12 behind strong showings from libero Nicole Pena (34 digs) and senior Charlene Shepherd (14 kills, 9 blocks).
Senior outside hitter Aliyah Lockett, who posted 11 kills, and Selicia Field, who finished with 19 assists, led the Lady Knights offensively. On defense, libero Valeria Cosme had 13 digs, and senior Jendayah Robertson accounted for seven blocks.
Harker Heights (16-8, 0-1) will attempt to rebound from the loss tonight, facing Killeen at 7 p.m. in the first of three consecutive home matches for the Lady Knights. They will host Ellison and Belton next week.
With Jasmine Early leading the way, the Lady Knights placed fourth at last week’s Hewitt Kiwanis Midway Invitational held at Waco’s Heart of Texas Soccer Complex.
Racing along the three-mile course, Early posted a time of 19 minutes, 25.6 seconds to place seventh individually.
Teammates Annika Farr (22nd, 20:46.0), Natalie Seib (31st, 21:27.5), Julia Arey (36th, 21:38.5) and Grace Wallace (38th, 21:45.4) each complemented Early’s outing by finishing in less than 22 minutes.
The Lady Knights finished with 115 points. College Station won the Class 5A-6A championship with 33 points, while host Midway was second with 70 points, edging out third-place Belton by two points.
Aleya Johnson-Rudino (43rd, 22:04.5), Elaina Marks (49th, 22:57.9), Raquel Hatton (51st, 23:00.8) and J’vanae Deshone (58th, 23:04.7) also competed for Harker Heights, but their times did not count toward the team score.
The Knights produced a pair of top-20 finishers at the meet en route to a sixth-place finish.
Ronnie Ramthum (16th, 16:36.9) and Ryan Mittag (17th, 16:41.9) crossed the finish line within five seconds of each other, helping the Knights accumulate 149 points.
Luke Lawhorn, a sophomore, was next to cross the finish line for Harker Heights, placing 28 th with a time of 17:07.6, while teammates Ethan Thomas (41st, 17:38.9) and Jalen Flowers (53rd, 17:58.9).
Several Knights were in contention for the team’s final scoring spot.
Andres Garza and Angelo Quintero finished tied for 54th with matching times of 17:59.3, while sophomore Ryan Chamberlain (18:06.7) was 59th .
Ellison claimed the team title with 53 points, while A&M Consolidated (70) and College Station (77) rounded out the top three.
After being idle for more than a week, the Knights and Lady Knights will resume action Saturday with a nondistrict match at Groesbeck.
Harker Heights resumes district competition Tuesday, playing at Killeen at 4:30 p.m. before taking another extending break until Sept. 29, when the Knights and Lady Knights host Lampasas.