TEMPLE — Temple volleyball coach Tim McDonald doesn’t believe in celebrating moral victories, but he admitted that one such triumph would have been nice in a match against Harker Heights on Tuesday. It may have led to a real-life win.
Unfortunately for the Tem-Cats, the moral victory got away in Game 3 in a District 8-5A match the Lady Knights otherwise controlled for a 25-13, 25-15, 25-21 win at Wildcat Gym.
Temple led for most of Game 3 after holding a 20-17 edge, but the Lady Knights rallied around middle blocker Kathleen Janda, who had three kills and two blocks as Harker Heights closed the match with an 8-1 run.
Temple (4-26, 0-6 District 8-5A) remained winless in district play, but McDonald said he saw progress from where the team was earlier in district play.
“They’re learning how to be more competitive,” McDonald said. “Now they have to learn how to win games, like Game 3, when the opportunity presents itself.”
Janda was consistent throughout the match finishing with 13 kills, more than the entire Temple team (12). Janda also had a match-high six blocks.
Janda had three kills to help the Lady Knights (12-15, 2-4) build a 6-3 lead in Game 1 and they would maintain at least a three-point lead the rest of the game.
She also had four kills in Game 2 as six straight service points by Roxann Sonni helped Heights build a 16-7 lead. Heights overcame 16 service errors.
“Kathleen is one we go to when we need someone to step up and do the job and she did a great job of it tonight,” Harker Heights coach Chris Wiley said. “In Game 3 we just said calm down and stop making mistakes because we were making some silly mistakes.”
Heights had a 35 kills as a team, set up by 12 assists from Breanna Gelsinger and 10 from Pam Alvarado.
The Tem-Cats showed defensive improvement holding a 38-34 digs advantage. Temple’s Madison Nieto led all players with 10 while teammate Angel Rivera finished with eight. Jenna Green added nine assists and six digs for Temple.
McDonald praised the play of Rashai Jackson for giving his team an emotional boost, but added there are areas he wants his team to improve during the second half of district play that begins after hosting Waco Midway on Friday.
“Our play in the middle has to get better and we sometimes get lax in our passing,” McDonald said.
Heights hosts Killeen on Friday.