SAN ANTONIO — The Rattlers made quick work of their Heartland Conference foe Oklahoma Panhandle State University Saturday, taking the victory in three with each set won by at least 10 points.
“We were told by Coach (Jenny Warmack-Chipman) to go out there and execute,” freshman Lauren Holman (Rowlett, Texas) said. “And that’s exactly what we did.”
St. Mary’s (16-8, 5-5 in conference) sweep of the Aggies (4-21, 0-11 in conference) marked its seventh sweep on the season and second of Oklahoma Panhandle State, denying the Aggies of ever breaking the 20-mark Saturday as its trumped the series with a 3-0 win, winning 25-14, 25-13, 25-15.
The Rattlers, wearing pink in honor of their Breast Cancer Awareness Day, followed that effort with another sweep of Southern Arkansas, adding an exclamation point to a day that saw them raise money for the San Antonio 1000 Genome Project.
In a do-or-die situation for the remainder of the season, which requires the Rattlers to will all of their games in order to make the Heartland Conference tournament, Saturday displayed a fierce court of Rattlers ready for the challenge.
“We executed on hitting, blocking and we picked up a lot of balls on serve receive,” said Holman, who led the Rattlers with two block assists against the Aggies. “We went out there and played our game. Our focus is to make the tournament. We need to win out these games.”
Karlie Ortega (Jr., San Antonio), who is one of the only two upperclassmen on the court, led Saturday along with Kelsey Huber (So., San Antonio), who each pulled away with seven kills to match seven points. Sophomores Melissa Heft (San Antonio) and Taylor Obermiller (San Antonio) each had five kills while senior Allie Murray (San Antonio) led with 17 assists and three service aces.
Fueling a season with a young cast that the conference predicted to finish sixth in this year’s preseason poll, the Rattlers are currently in fourth place in the league after the victory over the Aggies. They will continue to rely on their young blood in their fight for the title.
“It’s really hard being a freshman,” says Holman, who tallied six points Saturday. “But I’m expected and I have a really high expectation of myself to go out there and play the best that I can play. And as a team, this team has really come together and makes me not feel like I’m a freshman but as a part of the team. I go out there and do my job everyday I’m out there on the court.”
The Rattlers will play their next game against non-conference University of Texas A&M-Kingsville Tuesday in Kingsville, Texas at 7 p.m.
St. Mary’s University, as a Catholic Marianist University, fosters the formation of people in faith and educates leaders for the common good through community service, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence. The University has six athletic national titles: men’s basketball (1989–NAIA), baseball (2001–NCAA Div. II), softball (1986–NAIA and 2002–NCAA Div. II) and an individual national champion in men’s golf (2006–NCAA Div. II) and a national academic championship in men’s golf (2009–NCAA Div. II). St. Mary’s also had more than 40 percent of its athletes named to conference, regional and/or national honor rolls this past year. St. Mary’s student–athletes graduation rate is 65 percent, higher than the NCAA Division II average of 55 percent. To learn more about St. Mary's, visit www.stmarytx.edu/athletics.