AUSTIN — The Shoemaker Lady Grey Wolves had just let a five-point lead slip away. The Manor Lady Mustangs had seized the momentum late in Game 2.
But during the Shoemaker huddle, there was no panic and no finger-pointing. In fact, the Lady Wolves filled the Delco Center with echoes because of something said inside the huddle.
“This Shoemaker varsity team is a mature team,” libero Lashayla Rider said. “We have a better bond than any Shoemaker team has ever had. We bond and get along very well.”
And then the more seasoned Shoemaker squad scored the final four points to sweep Manor (25-13, 25-21) at the Austin ISD Jason Landers Invitational.
“The first game we didn’t play as we normally do, but we did pretty well our last two games,” outside hitter Bianca Delgado said.
The Lady Wolves (4-3) finished off the day with two consecutive tournament wins over Austin Eastside and Manor.
The Lady Wolves opened strong against Manor as a kill by Emonei Chestnut capped a 10-3 run to begin Game 1. Shoemaker led by as many as 12 points, and Tedrianna Sparks closed out Game 1 with a kill from the left side.
Rider scored the first points of Game 2 as Shoemaker jumped out to a 7-1 lead and seemed in control at 16-11 before Manor rallied.
The Lady Mustangs countered with a 7-2 run and forced Shoemaker to call a timeout with the game tied at 18 points apiece.
“We just told them don’t sleep on that team,” Shoemaker head coach Merdith Shaw-Moore said. “We watched them in a game before come back from a deep, deep deficit. We didn’t tell them to change anything, we just told them to stay focused and don’t change anything.”
The teams were tied again at 21 when Reagan Felton’s spike from the left side snuck inside the backline to give Shoemaker a 22-21 lead and force a Manor timeout.
That was all the distance the Lady Wolves needed as a Manor attack error and consecutive aces by Bianca Delgado closed out the match.
Felton finished the Manor game with 10 digs, 12 assists and two blocks while Delgado added four kills and 17 digs. Briana McCutcheon had a strong game on the front row with three kills and five blocks.
Gabriela Sierra set the table for the Shoemaker offense with eight assists against Manor and, defensively, Rider had 16 digs and Tyriete Dixon had two blocks.
The day didn’t start as well for Shoemaker as it fell to Austin LBJ 2-0 (25-18, 25-23) to begin Friday’s tournament play.
“We knew we could have beaten them,” Rider said about the LBJ game. “We knew we shouldn’t have lost to them and we were thinking we couldn’t lose the next match. We had to win.”
Delgado had 17 digs against LBJ, Rider added 22 digs and Shadavia Blakemore added 13. Sierra and Felton combined for 20 assist against LBJ and McCutcheon had two kills and three blocks.
The Lady Wolves got their first win of the day in a dominating sweep (25-12, 25-4) against Austin Eastside Memorial.
Delgado finished with four kills and eight assists against Eastside while Felton had 10 assists and two kills. McCutcheon and Dixon had a strong game on the front line with eight kills and five blocks.
Sierra had 10 assists against Eastside while Blakemore and Rider combined for 22 digs.
“Things that we were trying to do from the beginning started to come together and started to work for us,” Shaw-Moore said.
Shoemaker will play in the bronze bracket during the final day of tournament play at the Tony Burger Center. The Lady Wolves take on the Austin Lady Maroons at 10 a.m. and the bracket also includes Fort Worth Western Hills, Kyle Lehman, Taylor, Austin Crockett, Waco and Austin LBJ.
Note: In a schedule change, Tuesday’s non-district game between Shoemaker and Bartlett will now be played at Bartlett High School. The junior varsity game begins at 5:30 p.m. and varsity plays at 6:30.
Contact Albert Alvarado at email@example.com