Rebekah Jones said Shallowater volleyball has a bad habit of playing down to its competition.
It was evident Saturday when the Fillies lost the first set against Estacado, which is winless in District 2-3A competition, before coming back to win three straight sets.
“It just seems like we always kind of play down to whoever we’re playing with so we always get off to kind of a rough start and just have really had to work hard with starting off strong and we’re going to try,” Jones said.
Despite the slow starts, it would be hard to tell the Fillies are playing down just by looking at Jones’ stat line — she rarely, if ever, has a bad match.
Jones led her team in kills and digs in two matches last week, garnering this week’s Happy State Bank/Avalanche-Journal Female Athlete of the Week recognition.
She had 20 kills and 18 digs in a five-set loss to Seminole on Tuesday, then led her team to victory with 12 kills and 15 digs against the Lady Matadors.
She leads the team in both kills and digs in district competition, averaging more than 12 kills and 15 digs per match in District 2-3A play.
She also leads the team in serve receive percentage and hitting percentage (.258).
Shallowater coach Amy Mangum said opponents have a tough time reading where Jones is going to kill the ball, making her lethal on offense.
“She can get up and put the ball wherever she decides to go with it,” Mangum said. “We get it up high enough for her and she can make great decisions and put it where the defense isn’t, and teams have had a very hard time reading where she’s going to hit.”
Defensively, Mangum said Jones uses her long frame to get to balls most people can’t.
Jones moved to the middle of the back row this season, and her speed helps her make digs others can’t, Mangum said.
“I think I’ve really improved on defense. That’s been a big step up to start playing middle back,” Jones said, because I didn’t play that last year. (The move also helps) putting the ball where I needed to offensively.”
The Fillies (23-12, 3-4 in District 2-3A play) will rely on Jones’ play when they face Andrews at 6:30 p.m. today on the road.
For Jones, she has stepped up and led the team, Mangum said, which she will continue to count on for the rest of the season. The Fillies likely need to win out to clinch a playoff spot, perhaps getting a little help along the way.
But Mangum doesn’t need to worry about Jones,
“You don’t even have to tell Rebekah what to do,” Mangum said. “... She just leads every night and takes care of it and puts the ball in the smart places.”
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