San Antonio – St. Mary’s five-match home stint kicked off with a statement-making sweep over cross-town rival – for the time being, at least – Incarnate Word.
The Rattlers’ (13-7, 4-4 in conference) 3-0 victory over the Cardinals (7-12) Tuesday came in bounce-back fashion, overcoming last week’s loss to Texas A&M International that the Rattlers used as fuel in the victory over the Cardinals.
With the win, St. Mary’s extended its series lead over the Cardinals to 29-14 all-time.
“We all left this weekend to recover and think about how we played on last Thursday (against the Dustdevils),” says consistent digs leader Victorria Martinez (So., Arlington, Texas), who also led against the Cardinals with 25 digs Tuesday. “We came back and we all knew we were going to have a good practice and we went in, did what we needed to do and coming in today it just gave us the confidence that it was Word – you know, our cross-town rival. And they’re going to be going D-I next year, so here’s our chance to get them before they move up.”
Despite being on the brink of leaving Division II and potentially ending its rivalry with St. Mary’s, Incarnate Word could not hold up in its encounter with the Rattlers. St. Mary’s decisively took the match 25-17, 25-8, 27-25 against the Cardinals, who this year were invited to joint the D-I’s Southland Conference.
After pulling away with an eight-point victory in the first set, the Rattlers kept and built upon that momentum to claim a 17-point victory in the second set, allowing just eight Cardinal points.
“The second set was very big for us,” said Martinez, who also led the Rattlers in service aces with five, “because our problems with our recent losses have been our mistakes. That just shows we went a solid 13 points without any errors. We knew what we needed to get done.”
A back-and-forth third set that saw eight ties and five lead changes, threatening to take the Rattlers to a fourth set. But the team that earlier this season went on an eight-match winning streak held strong to come away with the victory, 27-25.
Taylor Obermiller (So., San Antonio), who took the match point, led offensively for the Rattlers Tuesday with a team-high nine points and nine kills. Jenna Paul (Fr., Alvin, Texas) and Kelsey Huber (So., San Antonio) were next at the net with seven kills apiece and 8.0 and 7.5 points, respectively. Allie Murray (Sr., San Antonio) added a team-high 22 assists as well as 11 digs.
The Rattlers continue on their home court Thursday against the University of Texas-Permian Basin in the Bill Greehey Arena at 7 p.m.