Ellison’s depth shined Tuesday night.
In a road match at Killeen High, the Lady Eagles had to fight hard to ward off a scrappy Lady Kangaroos squad. But they did just that, as they received strong contributions from every player that took the floor in a 3-1 win (25-23, 25-27, 25-20, 26-24).
Three Ellison players — Elicia Barcinas, Symone Thomas and Breonna Fleming — finished the contest with 12 kills apiece. Teammate Kieran Means added seven kills.
Jakarta Hope dished out a match-high 30 assists for the Lady Eagles, while Samantha Robinson had 14 assists and added four service aces to her ledger.
The Killeen crowd made its presence felt throughout the match, and Ellison head coach Sarah Stolley credited her team for being able to remain calm and collected.
“It is tough playing at Killeen,” Stolley said. “They pack these stands, and anytime there is a block or anything that doesn’t go our way, you could feel the momentum shift to Killeen’s side of the net. It is a challenging place to play, and that’s a lot of pressure.
“But our girls handled themselves pretty well tonight, so I’m really happy with the finish. It was a tough win.”
The Lady Roos began the match by scoring eight of the first 10 points to force the Lady Eagles into a timeout. Alia Vines led the Maroon and White during the run with two kills and two aces.
But Ellison stormed back by scoring eight of the next 10 points to tie it up, eventually took a late 23-18 advantage and was able to stave off a comeback by Killeen to win the first set 25-23.
In Set 2, the Green and White were well in command at the midway point with a 15-7 lead. But, as was the case for most of the night, the Lady Roos battled.
Ellison maintained its lead until the score was 23-18 in their favor. But two kills by Jacen Moore and another kill by Vines helped Killeen make a run and tie the set up at 24. The Lady Roos then scored three of the next four to win the set and tie the match up at 1.
But the Lady Eagles regained all the momentum, as they led from beginning to end in the third set to take a 2-1 match lead with a five-point win.
In Set 4, the two teams matched one another until the score was tied at 13. That is when Moore and Vines each tallied kills, and Moore also combined on a block with Janelle Etherly to lift Killeen to a 17-13 advantage.
Ellison stormed right back, however, and took a 20-17 lead with seven consecutive points. Two aces by Tori Urbas and kills by Barcinas and Thomas — as well as a block by Fleming and Thomas — boosted the Lady Eagles’ run.
Once again, the Lady Roos fought back to tie the game at 24 behind the efforts of Vines, Tiara Joyner and Sadee Songer.
After a kill by Thomas, however, an ace by Jaraysia Hope ended the set and the match.
Along with her match-sealing ace, Hope registered 18 digs.
“In practice, coach Stolley is always telling us to work hard,” the sophomore libero said afterward. “We play how we practice, so in a game I know I have to show up for the team. Just come through for everyone.”
For Killeen, Vines led the team offensively with 17 kills, followed by Joyner with eight.
Songer had 11 assists and Moore had nine. Moore also recorded 17 digs, while Etherly, Songer and Joyner each tallied 11.