Lampkin, Lady Rattlers go the distance in win over Lockhart
Senior middle blockers Shyeann Lampkin and Devin Branch have a competition between themselves every game: whoever gets the most kills, wins.
It puts a lot of pressure on sophomore setter Julia Antu. The pair needs equal amounts of opportunities to spike the ball, and it’s her job to make sure it happens. She doesn’t mind, though.
“(Lampkin) and (Branch) will compete for the most kills, and they’ll be like ‘Feed me! Feed me!’” Antu said. “So I’m like, ‘Alright.’”
Lampkin won the competition on Thursday with 18 kills to Branch’s 15, as San Marcos defeated Lockhart for the second time this year, 3-2.
The Lady Rattlers first saw the Lady Lions on Aug. 16 at the Bastrop tournament. After dropping the first set, 25-15, San Marcos bounced back by winning the next two sets, 25-21, and, 25-18, to earn the pool play victory over Lockhart.
Head coach Michelle Moreno said it helped her team to know what they were up against on Tuesday.
“We knew Lockhart was going to come in here and it’s good competition between Lockhart and San Marcos,” Moreno said. “We knew they weren’t going to lay down and were going to work for this. They were going to make us work for it.”
The first set of the rematch started nearly the exact same way as the first game. The Lady Rattlers struggled with their serving, and a hit from Lampkin that fell out of bounds gave the Lady Lions the first win, 25-16.
Moreno told her team between sets to focus on the little things, such as being in the correct spots on defense and transitioning off the net after a block.
“Fix those, and the rest will take care of itself,” Moreno said. “We take (the little things) for granted sometimes, they stop talking and then nobody knows who’s going where.”
San Marcos made the adjustments. The Lady Rattlers battled to take the next set, 25-23, and took the lead by winning the third, 25-17.
“We all talked about how we were going to come back harder than we did the last time because (Lockhart wants) to win and beat us,” Lampkin said.
“I think we realized they weren’t just going to give us a win,” Antu said. “So, we needed to fight hard.”
The team wasn’t able to carry the momentum into the fourth set, losing 25-19. The match came down to one final set to 15.
Antu set up Lampkin to take the first point of the game. Lockhart was called for a setting error and then spiked the ball out of bounds on the next two plays to give San Marcos a 4-0 lead. Antu set up Lampkin for another kill before serving the ball too far, ending the run.
Lampkin picked up another point off an assist from junior defensive specialist Julia Gutierrez to get her team the ball back. On the next play, Lampkin elevated for a spike, but Antu faked a set that sailed over the net and the heads of the Lady Lions’ front line to give the Lady Rattlers a six-point lead.
Lampkin and Antu connected for two more kills before Lampkin came off the floor for the final time with San Marcos up, 10-4. A third of her kills from the match came during the fifth set, with all but one coming from Antu.
“Usually whenever (Antu) doesn’t have a lot of assists, I’m like ‘Feed me!’ And I get her assists,” Lampkin said. “And I’ll be like ‘I’ve got you next ball, just set me up.’ And then I got it for her.”
San Marcos won the final set, 15-9, taking the match and improving to 11–10 this season.
“I felt like Devin and Shyeann were being aggressive,” Moreno said. “And I felt like our setters were finding them. Setting them in locations and feeding them the ball and leading them to the net, so that was good.”
The Lady Rattlers will host Ragin’ Rattler Tournament from Thursday to Friday at the Snake Pit. They’ll kick off pool play at 1 p.m. on Thursday against San Antonio Kennedy.
Moreno said her team is excited, but will need to be more consistent to take home the trophy.
“I’m looking forward to playing really good teams and also winning this tournament, too,” Lampkin said. “And just playing hard like we did in Bastrop.”