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WESLACO —Julianna Guajardo went on beast mode Tuesday for PSJA, blasting 21 kills as the Bears claimed a sweep in just 62 minutes over Weslaco in the UIL Class 6A state volleyball tournament bi-district round at Weslaco High.
The sophomore pin-hitter added 14 digs and a pair of blocks as PSJA advanced to the Area Round against San Antonio Brennan at 2 p.m. Saturday at Laredo United. Brennan swept United on Tuesday in their bi-district matchup. The Bears are now 37-5 overall and winners of 13 straight following the 25-13, 25-16, 25-16 sweep.
Weslaco, the fourth-seed out of District 32-6A, finishes its season at 18-20 and as one of the most improved squads in the Rio Grande Valley since the beginning of the season.
Weslaco hitters Gianna Gonzalez, Elizabeth Craig and Isabella Stroman all showed killer instincts in spurts at the net but the PSJA back row defense, headed by Alexa Carranza and Lexci Reyes, kept digging balls and transitioning the team into constant offensive pressure. Carranza finished with a match-high 41 digs.
“We knew we had to be aggressive and that they had a big block in the middle,” Guajardo said. “We had to strategize where we were going to hit. It was hard to find what was open because of their big block in the middle and they are quick so I think going line helped us a lot more.”
When Guajardo wasn’t smashing the ball to the floor, it was Mia Dominguez, who had eight kills and three blocks, and was recovering from illness. Kamila Figueroa, Karina Lucio and Aubrey Garza also combined for 12 kills and six blocks.
“Last week, we slowed things down in practice for our middle and right sides,” PSJA High head coach Caroline Cuellar said. “ We need our middles and right sides to perform to add to the offense to really come up in big games.
“We were able to implement and do some of the things we worked on and that was a really good feeling, to see that they were doers. Weslaco has a big block from the middle and we need to alleviate some of that pressure from the block and get the whole offense going.”
The Bears pulled away early in each match, leading the first set 8-3, the second, 11-7 and the third 8-0 behind a pair of Victoria Gonzalez aces and quick kill from Figueroa and a solo block.
“It was important to jump out early,” Cuellar said. “We’re coming off a district championship and out goal at the beginning of the year was to make the Sweet 16. It’s single elimination now, it’s the next step into reaching our goal. We need to go out there and execute offensively and defensively until the end.”