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Lady Bulldogs overpower Lady Yellowjackets for sixth straight win

by Mike Eckels/Special to the Westside Eagle Observer | September 19, 2023 at 7:30 a.m.
Larea Echeverria/Special to the Eagle Observer Leslie Hernandez gets ready to serve the ball into Lady Yellowjacket territory during the Mulberry-Decatur varsity volleyball match at Mulberry Thursday night. During the second set, Hernandez set a personnel best by serving 18 straight times, 16 of which were unanswered points.

MULBERRY -- The Decatur Lady Bulldogs varsity, along with the junior high A and B teams, board the Bulldog activities bus for a 90-minute ride to Mulberry on Thursday afternoon. All three teams returned to Decatur later that night with wins under their belts.

This contest was a little different than the ones the three Decatur teams are used to as the season progresses. Usually, the junior high B team takes the stage first for a two-set matchup with the opposing team. This time, however, it was the varsity team that took the court for the best of five series.

The Lady Bulldogs had an easy time in the first set, taking the win 25-15.

During the second set, freshman Leslie Hernandez stepped behind the line to begin the set. Soon it became apparent that the Lady Yellowjacket players were nowhere to be seen as Hernandez fired five straight shots past the two lines, giving Decatur a 5-0 lead. Five more uncontested points by Hernandez gave her 10 straight serves over the net. Then it was five more, giving Hernandez a new personal best from the serving line. On the 17th serve, Mulberry put the ball back over the net. Quick thinking by Annabelle Bell put the ball back over the net past the Mulberry front line for yet another point and extended Hernandez' serving run.

It looked as though Hernandez was going to serve the entire 25-point set. But alas, on her 19th serve, she hit the net, ending her successful run at 18 straight points.

"My arm started getting tired," Hernandez recalled. "I knew I had to continue, so I worked through it." The Lady Bulldogs went on to sweep the set, 25-7.

The tide of the contest shifted slightly as the Lady Yellowjackets finally entered the contest. The set was tied at 24 all when the Lady Bulldogs managed to slip the ball into Lady Yellowjacket territory for the set point. But Mulberry answered on the next serve, and the contest was tied at 25. Finally, two straight points by Decatur gave the Lady Bulldogs the third set and the match in straight sets over the Mulberry Lady Yellowjackets.

Up next, the junior high B team took the court at Yellowjacket Gym for a single-set match. While it was much closer than the three variety sets, the Decatur JHB pulled off another win and the night's second match over Mulberry.

The Decatur junior high A also had an easy time with Mulberry, taking both sets 25-15, 25-12, for the final match win of the night for the Lady Bulldogs.

With the Mulberry win, the Decatur Lady Bulldog varsity now has a six-match winning streak going into the latter part of the 2023 season. With the three wins this past week, Decatur moved into fourth place behind Lavaca, Mansfield, and Thaden. But the Lady Bulldogs square off against these very teams in the next two weeks.

Decatur faced Lavaca, Mansfield and Thaden in the season's opening weeks, the only losses Decatur varsity has to date.

Decatur travels to Rogers on Sept. 21 to take on the Thaden Lady Barnstormers in the only match of the week. Decatur has a tough week beginning on Sept. 25 as the teams travel to Lavaca to take on number one Lady Golden Arrows. The Lady Bulldogs return to Peterson-Owens Fieldhouse on Sept.26 to take on the Mansfield Lady Tigers. Then it is back on the road to take on New School on Sept. 27 in Fayetteville and Founders Classical Academy in Rogers on Sept. 28.

All contests begin with the junior high B team at 4:30 p.m.

photo Larea Echeverria/Special to the Eagle Observer Annabelle Bell uses a forearm hit to dig the ball back over the net during the Mulberry-Decatur volleyball match in Mulberry Thursday night. The Lady Bulldogs took their sixth straight conference win.

Print Headline: Lady Bulldogs overpower Lady Yellowjackets for sixth straight win


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