The high school gymnasium in Wallis served as the playing ground for Austin County foes Bellville and Brazos to clash on the volleyball court with more than just a preseason record on the line.
The Brahmanettes and Cougarettes have been squaring off every year for more than a decade and although Bellville has taken a handful of those matchups, Brazos came out with a spark to start the first set.
An early lead for the hosts soon turned into a tie game but after a timeout called by Cougarette head coach Denyse Fernandez with the score at 17-15 in favor of the Brahmanettes, Brazos raced to a 21-18 lead nearing the verge of claiming the opening set.
Bellville eventually worked it back to a tie then forced a Cougarette timeout after taking a 22-21 lead and even with the Brahmanettes owning set point, a net violation turned the ball back over to Brazos.
The ensuing serve, however, fell out of bounds and the visitors walked away with set one, 25-23, en route to taking the next two sets by a 25-12 score, claiming another win in the county rivalry.
Fernandez knew this year would come with ups and downs with a lack of a senior presence, but she also understands the road ahead is still plentiful.
“Currently I have five juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen on my varsity roster. We are taking our bumps and bruises, but that was expected coming into the season without senior leadership,” she said. “I know that our preseason record doesn't look good on paper, but I keep telling the girls to look at the big picture of the season. November is when wins and losses make you or break you.
“We are learning every day and getting better at building team chemistry with every point in every match. We are using the motto ‘It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become,’” Fernandez added. “I have some determined young ladies who work really hard.”
The Cougarettes continued to put in the work over the weekend at the Anderson-Shiro Tournament where although only one win came from the two-day competition, the girls from Brazos racked up 123 kills as a team with the tournament high coming in the finale against Livingston.
The Bellville girls also stayed busy over the weekend, winning the Battle of the Brazos Tournament after taking down Fulshear and Needville, who sat at Nos. 1 and 9 in last week’s Texas Girls Coaches Association’s rankings, in the gold bracket before beating George Ranch to clinch the championship.
For their efforts in helping their team win, three Brahmanettes were bestowed with all-tournament honors with Mackenzie Morgan taking tournament MVP, Daelyn Warmke as the tournament libero and Tatum Rowe was named tournament setter.
Fulshear and Needville fell to No. 4 and 11 respectively in the newest TGCA rankings while Bellville jumped up to 6 after not being previously ranked.