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Vying for first place

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Arly Balbuena led the team with several excellent serves.  Photos by Brian BeschArly Balbuena led the team with several excellent serves. Photos by Brian Besch

By Brian Besch
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Goodrich volleyball made a quick afternoon of Kennard Tuesday, taking a sweep in three sets.

The Lady Hornets started the match strong, jumping out to a 7-1 lead in game one. However, Kennard would answer, tying the game at 10 each. With Arly Balbuena serving, the team rolled off six straight points, which would lead to a 25-17 victory.

Falling behind 6-0 early in game two, Goodrich came back to take a lead at 11-10. Several lead changes brought the score to 20 each. Arly Balbuena again led the team by serving for four straight points, as the Lady Hornets took a 25-21 win.

There seemed to be little doubt of the match’s outcome when Goodrich held an 18-6 advantage in game three, but Kennard had other ideas. They would pull to within three at 20-17, before the Lady Hornets would take the sweep at 25-22.

“We were looking for a quick one,” Goodrich coach Pinellafie Johnson said. “They have been playing good all year, and they have been playing against 2A and 3A schools. In fact, this is just the second 1A school that we have played all season. Calvary (the other 1A) was in the Latexo tournament when we played this past weekend.

“They never got discouraged when they were losing against the bigger schools. I told them that this is getting us prepared for district. We want to make sure that we are prepared for 1A schools. I told them that these kids we are playing aren’t going to play us in the playoffs. They are just making us better.”

Goodrich is 6-12 so far on the season. They finally have some numbers on the squad and are able to give breathers to the starters with eight on the team.

It is still a young group, with four freshmen, two sophomores, a junior and senior. A few of the freshmen are move-ins, with one from Livingston and another from Houston. The freshmen are Bra’Niyah Wyatt, Alyxis Everson, Giselle Martinez and Brianaly Resendez. The sophomores are Tanyreauna Criswell and Liseidy Balbuena, junior is Arly Balbuena and senior captain is Latrina Morgan.

Johnson said she believes she has a playoff bunch in the 2023 version of Hornet volleyball.

“At a bigger school, freshmen do not play on the varsity. Here, they have had to jump in the fire. They have had a lot to learn and they are picking it up. They are just so excited and they play so well together. This is the first year that they have played, that when they are losing, they do not get down. They play just like they were ahead. We are actually vying for that first-place spot this year (in district). We aren’t looking for second.”

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