San Antonio – Talent matters, and St. Mary’s University volleyball coach Jenny Warmack-Chipman knew West Texas A&M University had plenty of it entering Saturday’s match.
Knowing that, Warmack-Chipman tried to devise a plan around smarts and ball control to beat the Lady Buffs.
“I just kept emphasizing to the players we have to be smart,” she said. “Get up and place the ball strategically, and run different tandems to split their block so we can rip it and catch their defense off guard.”
Even with the Rattlers at times executing the plan to perfection, West Texas A&M proved too much to handle. The Lady Buffs prevailed 3-0 (14-25, 19-25, 22-25) in the Rattlers’ home finale at Bill Greehey Arena.
“First with West Texas A&M, it’s tradition and history,” explained Warmack-Chipman of what made the Lady Buffs such a difficult foe. “They have a good 10 to 15 years, if not a lot more, of doing very, very well. What I was telling the girls was they’ve got very talented hitters that are also smart. It’s one thing to be able to hit the ball hard and jump high, but they’ve got the ability to control it. That’s a big distinction between them and us right now.”
After dropping the first set, the Rattlers (12-16 overall) battled back to put a scare in West Texas A&M in the second game. After quickly falling behind 12-3, St. Mary’s rallied behind the strong play of Mallory Moeller (Jr., Geronimo, Texas) outside to pull within 16-9. The Rattlers rallied again, closing the gap to 21-16 and later 23-19.
But the Lady Buffs knew how to finish, firing a shot in the back-middle of the court that eluded the reach of stalwarts Kori McCarver (Sr., San Antonio) and Stephanie Flores (Jr., San Antonio) to beat the Rattlers 25-19.
St. Mary’s fell behind again in the third, trailing 14-3 before beginning to find its rhythm. The Rattlers reeled off six straight points to make it 14-9, and later pulled within one at 17-16 following a shot from West Texas A&M that sailed wide. But the Lady Buffs again closed the door, prevailing 25-22.
Moeller led the Rattlers with nine kills, while Flores had a team-high 17 digs. Kate Kershner (Sr., San Antonio) added 14 digs and five kills, and McCarver posted 23 assists.
St. Mary’s will round out its regular-season with a pair of Heartland Conference matches against Dallas Baptist University and St. Edward’s University next week.