As host of the Dana Hatch Classic volleyball tournament, Tyler Junior College provided the courts and all the amenities, but not the final bragging rights.
The Apache Ladies finished the two-day event as the only undefeated team in four matches.
Panola College and Blinn College finished Friday with unblemished records, but each lost a match on Saturday leaving them with 3-1 records.
Fans witnessed a higher level of competition on Saturday with a majority of the matches going into four games including a hard-fought game between TJC and the 2011 national champion Blinn College team.
The Apache Ladies felt the pressure in a morning match against Barton College, but pulled off a 25-23 win in the first game despite appearing sluggish. Coach Ronda Shirley rectified the situation with a closed-door session with the team before the second game, a meeting that served as a wake-up call.
“I just told them that they didn’t put in all that work the past two weeks . . . to come in and look lackadaisical,” she said.
Shirley said she also reminded players that the competitors and fans expected a better performance from a team ranked No. 2 in the nation in pre-season polling.
The “pep talk” appeared to have worked since the Apache Ladies returned to the court and started the second game with a five-point run.
TJC went on to handily win the second and third games 25-11 and 25-16 respectively.
Before meeting up with Tyler, Blinn played Barton taking that match into four games and extended play. Blinn won the match 31-33, 28-26, 25-8, 25-11.
The Buccaneers took that momentum into the first game with Tyler, winning 25-23, but couldn’t quite keep up the pace for the rest of the match. Tyler claimed the next three games, 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 to win.
Shirley said she was proud of how her players played throughout the tournament.
“They got through the rough spots,” she said. “And I’m proud of them coming back and fighting in their home tournament.”
The Apache Ladies take to the road next weekend to participate in the Vernon College tournament in Wichita Falls.
TJC v. Barton: McArdle seven kills; Jones 11 kills, 16 digs; Bulajic, 15 kills, three blocks; Fluellen four kills, three blocks; Santos three kills; and Amaro 39 assists, 12 digs.
TJC v. Blinn: Bulajic 12 kills, three blocks; Amaro five kills, five blocks, 37 assists; Jones 15 kills, four blocks, 15 digs; Santos seven kills, six blocks; Krahl, three aces, 10 digs.
Tyler d. Barton: 3-0 (25-23, 25-11, 25-16)
Blinn d. Barton: 3-1, (31-33, 28-26, 25-8, 28-25)
Tyler d. Blinn: 3-1, (23-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-11)
West Plains d. Victoria: 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-9)
West Plains d. Panola: 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 26-24, 33-31)
Panola d. Victoria: 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-8, 25-20)
TVCC d. Vernon: 3-1 (16-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-16)
Vernon d. Richland: 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-12)
TVCC d. Richland: 3-0 (25-12, 25-8, 25-15)