By: HENRY MILLER
(DONNA) — After the first set of the Texas Class 5A Bi-District State Playoffs at Donna High, the consensus was that this was going to be a quick match.
Sharyland Pioneer came to town and took care of business from the start as they secured a commanding 25-11 set one victory.
Then Donna Head Coach Cindy Viesca made some changes to the team’s defense which seemed to slow down a very aggressive Pioneer attack.
After that, outside hitter Melanie Arenas found her golden touch and helped Donna High get back in the match.
Even with the counter punch and with Arenas’ more-than Herculean effort, Donna just didn’t have enough to overcome the Lady Diamondbacks as Pioneer advanced with a 25-11, 23-25, 25-23, 14-25, 15-11 victory in an exciting two-hour match that for most part bounced back and forth.
“The Bravettes played a great match but we just came up short,” said Donna head coach Cindy Viesca. We are proud of our team and their effort tonight.”
The first set was all Pioneer. A multiple look offensive attack at the net, combined with Donna’s inability to set up its offense, having major difficulties during serve receiving, helped the Lady Diamondbacks put together a 15-4 run to close out the set. It looked as if this one was going to just go three.
“Pioneer did a great job of serving the ball and hitting our open areas,” said Viesca. “It was extremely close. But things just didn’t go our way tonight.”
With a 17-13 lead in the pivotal fourth set and Pioneer up two sets to one, Arenas went to work. She had two kills, a block, a tip and a push to the weak side of the court that hit the line. Later, she served out the set and benefited from a powerful kill and a suffocating block from Nicole Rodriguez to tie the match at two sets a piece.
Donna held an 11-10 lead in the final set and critical two long rallies ended up as points for the Lady Diamondbacks, thus sending them on in the playoffs.
Arenas amazing night ended with 28 kills, 26 digs, two aces and four blocks. The senior ends her terrific career at Donna with 921 career kills.
Ileane Gallegos had 16 assists and 22 digs, Celeste Mata added 15 assists and 16 digs while Rodriguez, a force at the net, contributed with six blocks.