Lady Hornets exit playoffs
East Central libero Brandi Campos (15) watches from the back row as Darion Ott and Lindsey Lubianski go up for a block against O’Connor.
EAST CENTRAL -- After a year filled with ups and downs, the 2012 season has come to an end for the East Central Lady Hornet volleyball team. East Central’s last match was Oct. 29, as the Lady Hornets fell to O’Connor in a bi-district playoff match.
The season started well for the Lady Hornets with wins over Navarro and Lockhart, but the team fell to a quality Floresville team just ahead of its first tournament appearance. East Central struggled during the Northside Tournament, and then again during the North East Tournament near the end of August.
With a less-than-stellar record by mid-September, East Central was looking for some quick improvement as the team began district play Sept. 21. While the Lady Hornets did pick up district wins over Southwest, South San, and Corpus Christi King, East Central finished with a 4-6 district mark. One match under .500 wasn’t really what Head Coach Robyn Wunderlich and her team were looking for, but it was still good enough to claim the fourth and final playoff position out of District 28-5A.
Unfortunately, entering the playoffs as the fourth seed from the district paired the Lady Hornets with the No. 1 seed out of District 27-5A, the O’Connor Lady Panthers.
O’Connor went into the bi-district playoff match with an overall record of 36-8, having made a perfect 16-0 run through its own district. Still, the Lady Hornets knew they had a chance, and the team was ready to go when they took the court last Monday evening.
The match wasn’t a runaway, as many of the first-round playoff meetings are, but O’Connor proved its record had been earned, and picked up the win in straight games, 25-16, 25-14, and 25-20. East Central senior outside hitter Alexis Wagner made the most of her final high school match, leading the Lady Hornets in kills with eight.
“I am very proud of our girls,” Wunderlich said. “O’Connor is a solid, powerful team. We worked hard, had some great hustle plays, and went down fighting.”
The playoff experience, however brief, will also be a big learning experience for the Lady Hornets. The team had just four seniors this season, and a host of juniors and sophomores saw considerable playing time, including several players who started. With a freshman or two thrown in the mix, the young and inexperienced East Central team of 2012 will be an experienced team hungry for success in 2013.