Lady Eagles overcome injuries in win over Wichita Falls Rider

By Reece Waddell | Published Tuesday, September 4, 2018.
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Late in the second set against No. 5 Wichita Falls Rider, Decatur senior Satasha Kostelecky crumpled to the hardwood.

Favoring her left ankle, Kostelecky limped off the floor but did not return to the match. Already without starting setter Makenna Gantt, who suffered a concussion against Boyd last week, the Lady Eagles’ numbers began to dwindle.

But their resiliency did not.

Down two starters, Decatur hung on to beat Rider 3-1 (25-23, 25-17, 25-27, 25-20) at home Tuesday night, extending its winning streak to 11 games.

Decatur players celebrate a point in Tuesday’s win over Wichita Falls Rider. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

“Several different people stepped up,” said Decatur coach Clark Oberle. “It was definitely a team effort tonight. They were so mentally strong. The way they were able to hold it together losing Satasha like that and still hanging on is very impressive.”

Oberle said he did not know how much time Kostelecky would miss with her ankle injury but estimated she could be out at least one week. He hoped Gantt would be able to return next Tuesday against Midlothian Heritage.

Without two impact players, Decatur was forced to fend off several rallies by the Lady Raiders to come away with the victory.

In the first set, the Lady Eagles jumped out to a 17-12 advantage. After a Rider timeout, the Lady Raiders came back to tie the set at 23. Following another timeout, the Lady Eagles scored the final two points to win the set and go up 1-0.

In the second set, Decatur took advantage of several service errors and defensive miscues by Rider to go up 21-11. Oberle took a timeout when Kostelecky went down, and the Lady Eagles re-gained their composure to take the second game and a commanding 2-0 lead.

“It was a really big win,” said Decatur junior Madison Lowery. “I just tried to play my best. After Satasha got hurt, it was a big mental thing for us. I tried to not get in my head about it.”

Decatur freshman Jentry Lamirand (11) and junior Madison Lowery (8) jump to block a shot in Tuesday’s win over Wichita Falls Rider. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

In Kostelecky’s absence, Lowery led Decatur in kills with 12. She hit .500 and added five blocks.

Without Kostelecky in the middle and at the net, the Lady Eagles dropped the third set 27-25. Rider outside hitter Meredith Fisher buried several clutch kills that allowed the Lady Raiders to avoid the sweep.

“We tried to find a few weak spots in their serve-receive,” Oberle said. “We tried to serve really aggressively and mix up our offense as best we could so they couldn’t get great passes and monster kills. We were trying to reduce the damage as best we could.”

The two sides traded points in the fourth set until Decatur mounted a run that allowed them to pull away. The Lady Eagles won four straight points  to take an 18-11 lead that put the set and match out of reach.

Decatur improved to 21-8 with the victory. The Lady Eagles have not lost a match in almost three weeks, They host Wichita Falls Friday.

“Heart, character, fight and determination,” Oberle said. “They showed it all [tonight].”

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