By EDWARD SEVERN
LA FERIA — The Brownsville Lopez Lady Lobos got down early, but dug deep to come back and defeat the La Feria Lionettes in five sets in an exhilarating non-district matchup.
The Lady Lobos found themselves down two sets quick. They found life during the third set, and an amazing fourth set completely switched momentum for the Lady Lobos going into the fifth set. Lopez won those three sets 25-20, 25-9, 15-11.
La Feria started strong early, winning the first two sets 26-24 and 25-16. Great serves by Zeena Flores helped capture both sets. Alani Garza and Angelina Lopez were in fine form early, combining well with each other and getting teammates involved.
After the break going into the third set, Lopez looked more determined and took control of the set with great serves by Kenia Quinones and Kayla Aguilar. Pump-up speeches by first-year coach Cynthia Wareham lit the fire, and the Lady Lobos won the third set 25-20.
“I said whatever was going on in their head, we will talk about it after the game,” Wareham said of her speech after the second set. “New coach, new program, new defense that we are running and new offense. It has been hard for them to adjust. They get down on themselves, and I tell them, ‘Just play the game and we will talk about that stuff afterwards.’”
It was more of the same during the fourth set: great serves built a foundation, and the subvarsity players in the crowd really got loud for their varsity counterparts ,creating an atmosphere that helped fuel the Lady Lobos’ comeback.
“We are trying to create a program here get our subvarsities involved,” Wareham said. “These girls look up to you, give them a show so they can be proud of you. Once we said that, they were able to step it up.”
Lopez started defending really well and created opportunities for its hitters. Kassandra Aguirre helped set up Sofia Castillo, Gisela Duran and Cielo Chapa often during the fourth set and pumped up the crowd.
The Lady Lobos finished off the fourth on an 11-point run, winning the set 25-9. La Feria players looked shocked as the momentum completely shifted in favor of the Lady Lobos.
The Lady Lobos continued their form during the fifth set, completing the comeback by winning the set 15-11. Great defense by Noelia Ruiz were combined with great serves by Duran and Aguilar. Aguirre was everywhere, and Castillo and Chapa were beginning to hit with real venom behind their shots.
“They are all great athletes,” Wareham said. “The way I think about it, we lost two, but you know what? We are starting at Game 1. Serving was great, defense did a good job, we can work on our setting and our big girls up front did a great job blocking. It was a great team effort.”
The Lionettes had a lot of great moments in the match. Garza and Lopez did their thing. Angelina Trevino, Kaya Dickerson, Allison Rosales and Diana Zuniga had good moments as role players.
“It is a tough lesson to learn,” La Feria coach Rebea Fraga said. “I felt our team celebrated too early, and we did not get our focus back. Credit to Lopez, they were down and they did not let that impact them.”
The Lionettes, as a solid 4A school, faced a 5A school, as part of their development process.
“I try to schedule as tough of a schedule as I can to help prepare us for district and for the playoffs, too. It is a faster game against tougher teams. It is good to expose ourselves to different style,” Fraga said.
Lopez will face Brownsville Jubilee their next time out before they begin district next Saturday. The Lionettes still have a long way before they begin district and will face PSJA Memorial on Tuesday.