Longview Hops Back To .500 In District Play With Sweep Against North Mesquite
LONGVIEW -- Longview was looking for answers after back-to-back losses in District 11-6A ahead of Tuesday's meeting with North Mesquite. Missed offensive opportunities had been a thorn in its side.
The Lady Lobos' score sheet does not tell the complete story from a 25-18, 25-17, 25-17 victory at Lobo Coliseum. It will tell you the squad earned 60 percent of its own points on offense, but that number in actuality was even higher.
"We had been struggling," Longview coach Chaka Jackson said. "In our past two losses, we had been making a lot of unforced errors. These past three practices, we really worked on making the least amount of unforced errors. That was our goal tonight. And then capitalizing on their unforced errors."
While the Lady Lobos (24-7, 2-2) truly earned 45 of 75 points by getting the ball down on North Mesquite's side of the court, at least a quarter of the remaining 30 points Longview needed to win were created on hits the opposition dug out but ultimately could not return across the net.
The single biggest strength North Mesquite (6-17, 0-4) possessed was its dig capability -- the skill of saving points before the ball touched the court. Yet it struggled all match to return balls to back to Longview.
Effectively, even when the Lady Lobos could not score on their own hits, they consistently placed the ball in difficult spots. North Mesquite was able to get a hand on the ball but would subsequently misplay it on its own side of the floor between the dig, the pass and the counter scoring attempt.
Considering all of that, about eight more points came as consequence of good Longview hits.
The Lady Lobos built leads in each set of 5-1 or better and, from there, never allowed North Mesquite back within three points.
Nikki Bell led the Longview in scoring with 12 kills, one block and one ace for 14 total points. Keira Eynon, who also sang the national anthem before the match began, followed with 13 points on 10 kills and three aces.
Longview's setters played solid games as well.
Kennedy Eynon recorded 15 assists and Victoria Pierson added 13 more. They played a hand in 28 of the 29 kills the winning side scored.
The Lady Lobos also got down nine aces as a team and blocked seven North Mesquite returns.
"I'm really proud of Victoria," Jackson said. "She's a senior now and she's been on varsity for four years. She's running the court and doing a really good job of giving directions and talking to our hitters. Then the Eynon girls. They are our encouragers. They keep the team up. They're the leaders. We follow behind them."
North Mesquite recorded 15 assists on 20 kills scored with no dominant leader in the assists category. Nadia Romancelly led seven players that recorded at least one assist with six in the match.
Taylor Gilbert scored a team-best 11 points for North Mesquite, which produced 27 of its 52 points with its own offense. Longview chipped in the other 25 points on various miscues, a fairly average percentage for a high school team.
Longview will visit Tyler Lee for its next match Friday. The team will make a return trip to North Mesquite on Oct. 14.
"What I'm learning right now is that they're not done," Jackson said. "After those two losses, we could have easily lost tonight. We're finding a way to build off each other and get better each time we step on the floor. We have learned from the two losses that we had."