By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS - A week into the season, Harker Heights coach Chris Wiley decided to shake things up.
Using three completely different starting lineups, the host Lady Knights rallied from a sloppy first game to sweep overmatched Austin Travis 25-23, 25-14, 25-7 on Monday.
"He basically told us that he wasn't trying to hurt anybody's feelings but he's also trying to do new things with our whole varsity lineup," said senior outside hitter Starnisha Bodie. "But as a varsity team we have to adjust to whatever he says and do what we can."
That adjustment was tested early.
Despite a stellar start to the first game, in which Heights senior Ashlyn Osborne served up a 7-0 lead, the Lady Knights gave up 21 of Travis' 23 points on unforced errors as the Lady Rebs tied it at 23-all.
Following a well-timed timeout by Wiley, the Lady Knights (4-3) locked up the first game courtesy of back-to-back hit-outs from Travis.
"We've got to really make sure that when we get the foot on the pedal, we keep it on," Wiley said.
Sitting the first game due to a coach's decision, 5-foot-11 junior heavy-hitter Anjane Janda returned to the starting lineup in Game 2 and provided a spark to a team that includes 11 new faces.
Playing along the back row, Janda energized Heights on a five-point run midway through Game 2, coming through with a pair of aces and a point-saving dig that went for naught when an unforced error halted the run at 12-5. After the Lady Rebs cut the lead to 16-11, a monster Janda kill and two back-to-back kills by Bodie sent the Lady Knights to 9 of the next 12 points and the victory.
"Being a playoff-bound team, we want to put points on the board, so every opportunity we get we make sure we got a good pass, good set and put it down with a kill," said Bodie, who led Heights with nine kills, including six in Game 2, and 15 digs.
Carrying over the momentum, the Lady Knights once again started well as junior setter Katie Schulte served up the first 11 points in Heights' favor, contributing four aces and four assists for an 11-0 advantage.
"We hit a point where our serve was falling real well. It's something that we've really emphasized this year," Wiley said. "We just got to the point where they were falling and we were doing a good job of putting them in the spots they needed to be."
Heights continued its strong play, building a 20-5 lead thanks to the heavy-handed duo of Bodie and Janda, who added four kills and five of her 12 digs on a 13-5 closing Lady Knights run.
Sharing the ball, three Lady Knights setters combined on 23 assists, with Osborne leading with 10 and Schulte adding seven. Junior middle blocker Deysia Burden led defensively with four blocks.