COLLEYVILLE — Colleyville Heritage outside hitter Maddie Jones said having middle blocker Anna Walsh on her team is a serious luxury.
Walsh, a junior who has committed to play at Virginia, helped stabilize a slow-starting Panthers’ offense early and recorded 19 kills in a 21-25, 25-12, 25-16, 25-18 nondistrict win over Hebron on Tuesday.
Jones and Chandler Templin finally caught up with Walsh over the final three sets and had 14 and 12 kills respectively to balance Heritage.
“It’s nice knowing what kind of player we have right there,” Jones said. “For me, I was working a lot on placement of the ball rather than just swinging and of course, sometimes if you just quit thinking about it, the balls tends to go where you want it.”
For Heritage (23-6) that meant overcoming a first set loss in which the Panthers surrendered a lead that grew to as many as four.
Walsh had three kills and a block to start the game before rotating to the back row.
That’s when Hebron (21-9) made its run to tie things at 16-16 on the back of five Brookah Palmer kills and five Heritage errors.
The set one loss rattled the Panthers’ cage quickly and Walsh had five kills in a dominating set two effort.
“We’ve done that some, started slow and battled back,” Heritage coach Jamie Siegel said. “But volleyball’s a five-set match, so the players have to make the adjustments and get through those rough spots.”
Once the Panthers found some rhythm, the offense began to click.
With Jones and Templin hammering away on the outside, Walsh had four of her kills from the back row in the final three sets.
That kind of dynamic kept Hebron’s defense on the run.
After winning set two by 13 points, the Panthers kept their foot on the pedal and forced 11 Hebron errors over the final two sets.
Palmer had 13 kills and two blocks and Lauren Kirch had eight kills and three blocks to lead Hebron.
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