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VOLLEYBALL — Sabine Pass advances to area round; Lady Stings defeat Nederland

A two-week wait didn’t hurt Sabine Pass’ volleyball team at all.

A balanced offensive effort aided by Yainn Zuniga’s 27 assists helped the Sharks, the third seed out of District 24-2A, sweep 23-2A runner-up Groveton 25-18, 25-15, 25-22 Tuesday in the bi-district round of the UIL 2A playoffs in Daisetta. Sabine Pass will take on Leon at 6 p.m. tonight in Woodville.

A year after missing the 2A playoffs, the Sharks (19-8) stand one win away from a 20th victory for the season and earned their first playoff win since beating Groveton in the 2016 bi-district round. They’ve hit a stride using a number of attackers who can also contribute on defense.

“This is my best year,” fourth-year Sabine Pass head coach Andie Myers said. “We’ve got it going on. Our offense and our defense, there was so much energy from the girls I haven’t seen in a long time. They wanted it and they left it all out there. They didn’t let anything hit the ground without a body. They got touches on all the balls. They are ready to play and keep it moving forward.”

Joanna Smolsky’s seven kills and three blocks and Nevaeh Jones’ five kills and six blocks led the Sharks to victory Tuesday. Jones also recorded five aces.

Charnel Jones had four kills and three blocks, Kayla Dominick three kills and five blocks, Jamesia Jones eight digs, Jazmin Castro five digs, and Zuniga three kills, three aces and five digs in the win.

Sabine Pass is now staring at a tougher challenge in Leon (37-5), which won District 22-2A with a 9-1 mark.

“I know they know how to play good volleyball,” Myers said. “With my kids and the momentum, I do believe it will be a good match.”

The winner will take on either Evadale or the winner of Grapeland-Centerville in the Region III quarterfinals.

Texas City 3, Nederland 0

In Liberty, a 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 loss to the Lady Stings ended the Bulldogs’ season in the 5A bi-district round. Nederland finished the campaign 27-16.

“I could not be more proud of this team,” Bulldogs coach Allie Crommett said. “This group of girls far exceeded the expectations we had set for ourselves this season. Starting out the year at 2-6 in our opening weekend and going with only 10 losses in the remaining 12 weeks really says something about them. They bought into what we wanted to do and made a decision to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and it paid off tremendously for them.”

No statistics were available, but Nederland went into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in District 21-5A, its highest seeding since sharing the District 22-5A title with Port Neches-Groves in 2016.

“For this group of seniors, I am going to miss them and their presence immensely, but they have left a huge mark on this program,” Crommett said. “I am excited for our returners and all the girls coming up. We’ve got some work to do, but it’s going to be fun to see what we do in the future!”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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