By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS – Trying to right the ship after several down seasons, the Harker Heights volleyball team exorcised one big demon with a three-game sweep of cross-town rival Killeen 25-20, 25-18, 25-16 Tuesday.
"The girls wanted this one pretty bad," Lady Knights coach Chris Wiley said. "They came out and played hard and they were pretty built up for this."
Wanting and actually doing are two different things, something the Lady Knights have understood in the last several losses against the Lady Roos.
"It's always one of our big games. We always do really well against Killeen but we're never able to pull through," said senior libero Darcy Parks, still giddy from
Harker Heights' first-ever win over the Lady Roos. "We did real well this year. We're so excited."
One night after earning the 100th win for Wiley, the Lady Knights (4-6) gave him No. 101 by taking out long-time nemesis Killeen (4-1), which suffered its first loss of the season in a less-than-stellar effort.
"We did not come to play tonight," said Killeen coach Shelly Jones. "... We played like poop."
Led behind another standout defensive showing, Heights got it done by stifling the Lady Roos along both their front and back lines, totaling 14 blocks.
Holding their own on the Heights' side of the nets were juniors Bianca Patterson and Taylor Denney, who put up a wall with five blocks each.
"That's really the first line of our defense – blocking," Wiley said. "It helps our blockers to be able to go up (for a block) unafraid when you have people like Darcy Parks and Mariam (Dashiell), a couple of our back row players who do a good job of keeping the ball off the ground if we don't get to it on the block."
Whenever a ball did manage to get through the Lady Knights' front line, both competitors dug and dived to keep the ball alive, with Parks leading the way with 24 digs.
"You know your team is going to put forth all the effort so letting a ball drop is letting your team down," Parks said. "They can't get it up, they can't get a hit, nothing can happen if you don't get the ball up."
Although scoring was hard to come by for Killeen, its defense proved tough to overcome as Tiara McIver and DeQuise Robinson led the team with 19 and 17 digs, respectively.
"We didn't do anything right tonight," Jones said. "That's what I was telling the team, we didn't have not one perfect pass, not one perfect set, not one kill."
On the other hand, Heights is flying high after notching it's first winning streak in more than a year.
"It's nice to be on a little bit of a roll, that's what they've been working so hard for," Wiley said. "It's a lot more fun when you win. You learn lessons when you lose, but it's a lot more fun (to win)."
Contact Alex Byington at email@example.com or at (254) 501-7566.