SANGER — Coming into Tuesday night’s District 9-4A contest between Aubrey and Sanger, it appeared that it would be just another district game.
Aubrey and Sanger had different ideas. So did the Sanger student section.
In front of the Lady Indians’ raucous home crowd, the Lady Chaparrals got over their shaky start in the first set, where they fell 25-20, to storm back and take the final three sets 25-20,25-18, 25-15.
“Honestly, the kids have done a really good job of not letting it faze them,” Aubrey coach Whitney Stout said of the Sanger crowd. “I think some of them like it more just because it takes ... the pressure off, and they just get to play and then their adrenaline gets going.”
The Lady Chaps appeared dead in the water through the first set and a half, as Sanger traded blows with them through the second set. Then Aubrey found its groove.
“We just talked about controlling what we can control, playing with a sense of urgency,” Stout said. “They finally got some momentum. And then we played with a sense of urgency, and we looked like a different team.”
Offensively, Sydney Garrison was all over the floor for the Lady Chaps by racking up 15 kills and 14 digs, while Lexie Temple tacked on 11 more of her own. Meagan Szostek piled up seven more kills as well.
Despite grabbing a huge road victory on Tuesday, Aubrey is still sorting through which lineup will be most effective moving forward.
“We completely changed our lineup last week,” Stout said. “These kids are still learning to play beside each other. But I did think as the match went on, our communication got better. And that helps. This gym is loud, so you absolutely have to communicate.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum for the Lady Indians, it seemed as though they were poised to take this match with a full head of steam before it all fell apart midway through.
Lindzi Thomas compiled 11 kills and 17 digs for Sanger, with Carly Schmucker tallying 12 kills and 14 digs on her end.
“They made some adjustments and changed up a little bit with their lineup,” Sanger coach Scott Montgomery said. “I adjusted [ours] and started putting the ball in different spots. We tried to make the adjustment and that wasn’t quite working.”
Perhaps the nail in the coffin for Sanger came in the third set when senior Ashley Rider went down with an injury.
Rider had three kills and 12 digs up until that point, where she went down hard on a dig and was forced to come out of the game.
“We had the injury that sucked the life out of us,” Montgomery said. “We fought but we never quite were the same team after that.”
Moving forward, Aubrey is now 2-1 in district play while Sanger falls to just 1-2 early in the district schedule. The two teams will meet again in October in Aubrey.
And though the district schedule is still just getting underway, district road wins in hostile environments matter regardless of where the schedule is.
“You always want to control your own destiny and be able to do what you want to do,” Stout said. “The positive is every game, we’re still getting better every time out, and we’re still learning each other.”