Robert E. Lee began Tuesday honoring its five seniors and Longview spent the remaining hours ruining the Lady Raiders final home game. The Lady Lobos used a tenacious defense coupled with a multiple offense to defeat REL in four games, 25-15, 16-25, 25-18, 25-21.
The loss drops Lee to 24-14 and 5-3 in District 11-5A while Longview (2-6 in 11-5A) keeps its playoff hopes alive by securing its second district victory.
The Lady Raiders received 12 kills and six digs from junior Mallory Kuechle and eight kills from senior Rachel Johnston, but it wasn’t enough. Except for Game 2 where REL raced out to a big lead and maintained, Longview never allowed the Lady Raiders to get comfortable.
“We made entirely too many unforced errors that we can’t afford to make, especially against a team like that,” said REL coach Melissa Lee. “They played very well and we did not play well.”
Lee senior Ashley Jovanovich led with 14 digs while senior Kalloway Hudson (19 assists) and junior Melissa Menard (12 assists) also made the stat sheet. Senior Tayler Newberry finished with eight digs. Senior Rebecca Baker couldn’t play due to injury.
Longview freshman Halee Brewer led the Lady Lobos with eight kills and two blocks. She was aided by seven kills from senior Akeea Gilmore, six kills from Dajha Thurmond, five kills from Naqwavian Nelson and four apiece from Marissa Jones and Jonae Thompson.
“It was do or die and we had to get this win to have a chance at the playoffs,” said Longview coach Chaka Jackson. “It was either play hard or go home and they gave me everything they had.”
Longview only had three service errors in the match with seven aces while REL had six, the final one coming on match point.
“We normally average about 10 missed serves, so that was very impressive for us,” Jackson said about Longview’s performance at the service line. “It was definitely a different ball team tonight and I am so proud of them for stepping up.”
Lee and Longview went to five games in their first match at Lobo Coliseum with the Lady Raiders rallying from 2-0 down to win the next three. In the rematch Tuesday, Lee and Longview split the first two with the Lady Lobos closing things out after that.
The Lady Lobos used strong serving from Nataisha Alexander to build a 19-11 lead in Game 1, before eventually closing it out, 25-15.
In Game 2, Kuechle carried REL to a win, notching four kills, two aces and a solo block as the Lady Raiders evened things up, 25-16.
More strong serves from Longview, this time by A’Kia Mumphrey, pushed the Lady Lobos into a comfortable 20-12 lead in Game 3 before winning, 25-18.
In the pivotal and final Game 4, the Lady Raiders trailed 18-13 before battling back to take the lead, 20-19, on a kill from Kenshai Moseley. Longview fired back with a kill from Brewer which began a five-point run to set up match point, 24-20. Lee staved off the first one, but a missed serve ended the comeback.
Lee finishes district play on the road with games at Mesquite Friday and Mesquite Horn on Tuesday. The Lady Lobos are home Friday against North Mesquite.
RAIDER RAP: Longview JV defeated Lee in two games, 25-13, 25-12. In freshmen volleyball, Longview defeated Lee Red, 25-20, 12-25, 26-24.