HARKER HEIGHTS — The Harker Heights Lady Knights earned their first District 12-6A win, sweeping Killeen, 25-17, 25-13, 25-17, at home Tuesday.
The Lady Knights (1-1 12-6A) were coming off a district-opening loss against Shoemaker in Heights on Aug. 21.
Both teams have new head coaches, and the shortened preseason that came with a move to a nine-team district hasn’t made things easy.
“We’re trying a new rotation today,” Killeen head coach Crystal Bennett said before the match. “Hopefully, it works out.”
The Lady Roos started the first set strong, taking an early 4-1 lead before the Lady Knights called timeout.
Despite impressive defensive performances from Lady Roo juniors Rhepsy Wyman and Areta Maugaotega, Heights quickly caught up to tie the score 5-5.
Killeen moved back in front, but miscommunication on the court started allowed the Lady Knights to tied the score once more at 8-8.
Heights started to build momentum after a long rally which earned the Lady Knights a point.
Makayla Wiggins followed up with an ace that got the entire Lady Knights bench on its feet as Heights took a 12-8 lead and forced Killeen to call timeout.
Once in control of the tempo, the Lady Knights channeled that momentum to a 25-17 victory in the first set.
Heights raced to a 12-3 lead in the next set and went on to win 25-13.
“We really focused on the little things, the fundamentals” Heights coach Alina Wilder said of her team’s preparation. “The little things make a big difference in a game.”
After being swept at home last week, the Lady Knights were out to redeem themselves with a sweep of their own.
But the Lady Roos weren’t going down without a fight as they kept the score close throughout the third set.
Wyman and senior Da’Via McIver kept Killeen close the entire third set with block assists at the net.
But that didn’t stop Jada Dye from finding a hole in the backcourt for a kill as the Lady Knights pulled ahead 13-10.
The block party from Wyman and McIver helped Killeen catch up, and briefly pull ahead, but it wasn’t enough to stop Heights from winning 25-17 for the sweep.
“It gave them a confidence boost that we needed,” Wilder said. “We had a run of a couple of losses and so we had to pick ourselves up.
“And I told them we’re going to have to work together, do everything together, and that’s how we’re going to be successful.”
Seeing the spark in her team gave Wilder a proud feeling but she knows this is just the beginning.
“We still have the rest of district to go,” she added. “We started out 0-0, clean slate, so now we’ve got to push and keep working like it’s day one.”
The Lady Knights have a bye Friday before traveling to Ellison on Tuesday.
Bennett looks to make more adjustments before the Lady Roos travel to Ellison on Friday.
“I’m going to make some changes, keep trying” Bennett said. “Our team is really young and inexperienced.
“We just have to keep pushing but I need them to step up, play and believe in themselves as much as I believe in them.”
TUESDAY'S 12-6A VOLLEYBALL
- Belton def. Shoemaker 25-18, 25-17, 25-19
- No. 7 Copperas Cove def. Ellison 27-25, 25-16, 25-23
- Harker Heights def. Killeen 25-17, 25-13, 25-17
- Waco Midway def. Waco 25-11, 25-4, 25-11
- BYE: Temple
- No. 7 Copperas Cove at Shoemaker, 5:30 p.m.
- Ellison at Killeen, 5:30 p.m.
- Waco at Belton, 5:30 p.m.
- Waco Midway at Temple, 5:30 p.m.
- BYE: Harker Heights