ARGYLE — After winning the Winter Park Showcase in Orlando over the weekend, Argyle came into Tuesday’s home match against Sanger fatigued, but with plenty of momentum.
For the first month-and-a-half of the season, the Lady Eagles flashed moments of brilliance, but also some inconsistency.
Argyle hopes that is now behind them.
The Lady Eagles took down Sanger 25-17, 21-25, 25-17, 25-13 behind a team-high 14 kills from senior Mariah Hesselgesser, extending their winning streak to seven games.
“It’s clicking,” Argyle coach Megan DeGroot said. “The girls are starting to trust each other. This weekend, I got chills on the bench. Everything is meshing and clicking. It was the turning point we were looking for. It really opened their eyes to the possibilities for us.”
Hesselgesser, who missed the first few weeks of the season with an injury, returned to form against the Lady Indians. The Arkansas State commit was a force at the net, turning away five shots.
Her counterpart, Kiley Lavelle, who also missed time at the start of the year with an injury, buried six kills of her own. Together, that tandem sparked Argyle’s offense, leading the Lady Eagles on several long runs.
“It’s definitely big,” DeGroot said of Hesselgesser and Lavelle being healthy again. “Not only do we have our two middles in play, but it opens up our outsides. When our middles become more of a threat, it opens up opportunities for our outsides and right sides to put the ball away. I think up until Orlando we were depending on our outsides. Now, the ball is being equally distributed.”
Argyle jumped out to a 17-12 lead in the first set and went on to win, taking a 1-0 lead.
But the Lady Indians responded, making several adjustments in between the first and second set. As a result, Sanger knotted the match at 1-1 after winning the second frame 25-21.
“We tried to play some matchups,” Sanger coach Scott Montgomery said. “Tonight, it was trying to match up and put a stronger block on [Hesselgesser]. It worked for a little bit. But that was that. It worked temporarily. After that, it was just intensity. Our energy and intensity were very spotty tonight.”
The Lady Eagles regained control of the match in the third set, as Hesselgesser’s eighth kill put Argyle up 11-7 and prompted a Sanger timeout.
Argyle kept its foot on the gas and took a commanding 2-1 lead, and it was Hesselgesser again who led the charge in the fourth set. Her 13th kill gave the Lady Eagles a quick 7-5 edge, but her final kill was the dagger and match point that sent the Lady Eagles home with the win.
“I felt like this weekend at the Florida tournament helped me get my connection back,” Hesselgesser said. “I feel like we’re finally at that point where we’re at a peak and we can keep going forward from there.”