HARKER HEIGHTS — Harker Heights head coach Chris Wiley was impressed with Temple’s improvement from their last meeting.
But in the end, it was his Lady Knights who made the biggest impression Tuesday night in the opening match of the second round of District 8-5A play.
“Temple had better footwork on defense,” Wiley said. “Overall I was pleased with what we did. It’s hard not to be pleased when you’re 31-4 and 7-1 in district.”
Heights junior middle blocker Kathleen Janda had 13 kills while her older sister Anjane made her impact on defense with 19 digs to lead the Lady Knights past the host Temple Tem-Cats 25-20, 25-16, 23-25, 25-15.
Temple (10-24, 3-5 8-5A) played tough in Game 1, but Heights held a 20-18 edge before the Tem-Cats made three passing errors to give the Lady Knights a cushion.
Temple built a 12-11 lead in Game 2 when a block from Lady Knights senior outside hitter Deysia Burden started a 15-4 run as four players had three kills each, while Tem-Cats senior Amanda Goodman had four.
After fighting back for a victory Game 3, Temple pulled ahead 13-12 in Game 4 before Heights closed out the match on a 13-2 run fueled by four kills apiece from by Kathleen Janda and Caitlyn Young.
But it was on defense where Temple made its biggest jump, outdigging Harker Heights 67-66, with Goodman providing a team-high 19.
“We did a better job with our defense,” Temple coach Bree Holz-Gonzales said. “I wish we could have been better in our serve-receive, but overall I thought we were much better than the last time we played them. We just ran out of gas.”
Anjane Janda wielded a powerful serve for the Lady Knights, racking up four aces, as Wiley encouraged his team to amp up the aggressiveness with its serves to counter Temple’s defense.
Goodman also led Temple with 14 kills while Ismay Lee had 33 assists. Heights senior setter Katie Schulte led all players with 40 assists and senior libero Jordan Denney had a match-high 22 digs.
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Temple Daily Telegram reporter Rick Kretzschmar contributed to this report.