RIONA — For the second straight year, Pampa beat Seminole in four sets (23-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-23) in Friona’s gym for the Area Championship. This is the third-straight year the Lady Harvesters have won the Area Championship.
“Seminole is a great team and we knew that going in,” Head Coach Kaylee Samulowitz said. “They were scrappy, covered everything off the block and dug everything. They gave us a good run for our money. But I’m super-proud of the girls, they stayed composed. It’s easy in that situation to freak out. We talked about confidence and knowing we’re the better team and you can go win if you put your mind to it. I’m really proud of how we fought.”
After dropping the first set, the Lady Harvesters got off to a 10-2 start with kills from juniors Hallie Hawthorne and Mikalie Floyd. Seminole had some mistakes that allowed Pampa to add to their lead at 20-12. Junior Priscila Moreno added a kill late in the set as Pampa took Set 2, 25-20.
Pampa and Seminole were locked in a tight battle as the third set started with kills from Floyd and H. Hawthorne. Seminole took a lead, but it was short-lived with kills from Floyd, freshmen Mazi Smith and junior Ariel Lacher.
The Lady Harvesters’ serving was on point as they began to separate from Seminole with kills from Moreno and Floyd. Pampa took the third set and the 2-1 match lead with the 25-17.
“I think the one (serving error) was when we were giving up a run, which is frustrating,” Samulowitz said. “But I think overall we had less serving errors than we normally do. We talked after Set 2 (even though we won that set), I was frustrated with how we looked and our effort. We talked a lot about focus, and serving is all about focus.”
The Lady Harvesters took a 9-6 lead to start the fourth set with a kill from Smith. The combination up front of H. Hawthorne and Smith accounted for three straight kills as Pampa began to separate from Seminole 14-8.
“It’s huge (to have a tall front),” Samulowitz said. “We out-sized a lot of teams we played this year. We did today too. Most teams have tall middles, but we’re tall across the line. We have some big blockers and that makes it hard for teams to score against us. We blocked a lot of balls today and they dug a lot of those blocks but it made them think a little bit today.”
Floyd added kills toward the end of the set as Pampa staved off a late Seminole rally to take the fourth set and the match win 25-23.
The Lady Harvesters played Hereford in the regional quarterfinals Monday evening.
“It’s almost nicer to play teams that you know,” Samulowitz said. “I don’t have to scramble to find film, we know what they’ve got and they are a great volleyball team. We don’t have to be better than them every day. We just have to be better than them on the day we play them. You never know what could happen.”
Mikalie Floyd had 28 kills, 19 digs; Hallie Hawthorne had six kills, one assist and seven digs; Maecie Hawthorne had two kills, 41 assists, one ace and seven digs; Valeri Anguiano had two aces and 11 digs; Haley Fossett had four assists, an ace and 25 digs; Ariel Lacher had an ace and 17 digs; Priscilla Moreno had five kills and two digs; Mazi Smith had nine kills and three digs.
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