It’s likely too early to tell if Temple’s four-set win over Robinson on Monday night will have any substantial bearing on the Tem-Cats’ volleyball season going forward.
To be sure, however, it didn’t hurt matters any.
The Class 4A Lady Rockets shook off a deficit that reached as much as 10 in the opening set and posted 13 of the final 16 points to stun the Tem-Cats and take an early 1-0 lead in the match. Temple head coach JoAnna Vaden encouraged her team to not give up the fight, and the players responded by winning the next three games for the 24-26, 25-17, 26-24, 25-19 non-district win in Wildcat Gym.
“We needed it,” Vaden said. “I just didn’t want them to lay down. I told them we did not respond well when we gave away three or four points, and that’s where we have to pick it up. If they get a point, that’s all it should be. We have to control that ball on the very next one. We have to learn to battle. That’s our thing. And we did tonight.”
The sudden uphill climb was part self-inflicted and part Robinson (2-7), which attacked from a variety of spots on the court and carried leads of at least two points in every set. Temple (4-6), though, navigated its opening-set lull and avoided lapsing into a similar scenario with key contributions up and down the lineup — one that’s being tested in different rotations with senior setter Kenna Fort out because of injury.
“That’s what we’re going to have to do. It’s going to have to be all together,” Vaden added.
Seven Tem-Cats had at least one kill, including Ali Mack, whose lone point in that department finished off Game 4. Jessica Vaden tallied a team-high 15 kills, Bella Brea contributed 10, Paysee Crow landed six to go with 28 assists, six digs and three service aces, and Lyric Biggiers had five kills. Brea dropped in five aces and Faith Farbo led the way with 18 digs.
Delani Degner paced Robinson with 14 kills. Brooke Ashcraft added 13, and Maysi Rogers and Kalli Eaton had 10 apiece. Kendyl Lashcombe offered 37 assists to aid the Lady Rockets’ versatile attack.
“It was definitely something we had to make adjustments towards,” Jessica Vaden said of Robinson’s approach. “But once we started making adjustments, it was easier to work together.”
Temple jumped out to a 14-4 lead in Game 1 and had bumped the advantage back up to eight at 21-13 after a brief Robinson burst. It became dicey after that for the hosts, who were outscored 13-3 the rest of the set and were instantly in search of answers.
“There were definitely points where we kind of lost our fight and started playing separately instead of a team,” Temple senior Hayli Hesse said. “But we picked that back up in the last three.”
Indeed. Temple pulled away late in Game 2 to even the match then outlasted Robinson in the third set, picking up the final point with Brea’s tip kill.
The teams were tied as late as 12-all in the fourth but five straight points, including a block by Mack and kill from Vaden, gave the Tem-Cats enough separation to last the duration.
Temple will pocket the triumph and head into the Gatesville tournament starting Thursday.
“It’s important to keep our momentum going and stay at our level,” Jessica Vaden said.