HARKER HEIGHTS — Pam Alvarado killed a line drive into the center of Shoemaker’s side of the court.
The Harker Heights junior pumped her fists in celebration, fans courtside erupted, teammates embraced, and DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win,” bumped the gymnasium.
Heights won in four sets, 25-17, 25-14, 22-25, 25-18, notching its first district win.
“Shoemaker’s gotten a lot better since the year’s progressed, so we knew we were going to have to play,” said Heights coach Chris Wiley. “We came out, we made a few too many mistakes in that third set, but other than that, we had a good match.”
The third set comprised 17 ties and nine lead changes, as nine errors plagued the Lady Knights (11-13, 1-3 8-5A). The Lady Grey Wolves had strong kills from Blanca Delgado, Angel Gavin, Chelyiss Pierce, Aria Price and Maddi Woodard, and closed the set on a 3-0 run.
Steadfast, Wiley addressed his team after the third set.
“Basically, he was like, ‘OK, do not let them take this.
“Do not let momentum down. You gave them momentum, now take it away,” said Heights junior Karissa Heagans.
Shoemaker briefly seized a 4-3 lead in the fourth set, but the Lady Knights finished on a 22-14 run, during which a 6-0 run put them ahead 15-8.
“We do have a lot of new girls from last year’s team. We lost nine seniors.” Wiley said. “(Keeping composure is) something we’ve been working on all season long.”
Heagans dominated the net, sticking 10 kills and 5½ blocks.
“She got some big kills when we really needed them, and was really able to pull out a lot of needed points when it came down to it,” Wiley said.
Nine of Heagans’ points came in Heights’ assertive first two sets, which only comprised ties and Lady Knights leads. Heights went on runs of six, four and three unanswered points.
A 7-0 run staved off a resilient Shoemaker to end the second set.
For Shoemaker, Price had 12 kills and Anessa Pitts added 31 digs.
Heights’ Kathleen Janda had 12 kills and 2½ blocks, Brianna Geisinger added 22 assists and Tracie Campbell notched 24 digs.
“I came in saying, ‘I really want to win this. We need to take our first district win, and that was my mind-set,’” Heagans said. “‘It doesn’t matter what happens. If we fail, I’m still going to come out swinging.’”