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Kaylee Howell elevates for a kill over an Orange Grove blocker. Howell finished the game with 22 kills.

The Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Lady Pirate volleyball team played what was hopefully the first of many University Interscholastic League (UIL)-organized games of the 2020-21 school year Tuesday, Aug. 11 at home.

The Lady Pirates defeated the Orange Grove Lady Bulldogs in four sets, 25-18, 25-16, 22-25, and 25-21.

RFHS Head Volleyball Coach Mark Jeffery said his team was eager to get back onto the court and play a real, organized volleyball game.

“The school, and the girls especially, had been looking forward to this game for a long time so to get to play it was an absolute blessing and the girls had a blast,” said Jeffery.

In order for RFHS to play games this year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a strict list of guidelines must be followed each game. While sitting on the bench during a game, players are required to be distanced from each other and wear a mask.

Jeffery said the team is taking the opportunity to continue playing day-by-day, noting the uncertainty of the situation.

“At this point, our days are minute-by-minute, there’s really no planning. You just kind of go with the flow,” said Jeffery.

He added the team played about as well as he expected, despite some sloppy play.

“There was a lot of nerves with that level of anticipation,” said Jeffery. “These kids have been locked up for five months, so I think the anticipation got to them a little bit and we were a little sloppy, but we did what we needed to win.”

Kaylee Howell led RFHS offensively with 22 kills. Followed by Kaylie Skinner and Lauren Moore with three each.

Mikayla Molina led RFHS in sets with 15, followed by Sophia Byrom with 11.

Payton Martinez led RFHS defensively with seven digs.

Howell also accumulated five blocks.

The RFHS junior varsity and freshman volleyball teams also defeated Orange Grove; the junior varsity won in two sets, freshman won in three.

RFHS played again Friday, Aug. 14 at home against Calallen. They’ll play Calallen again Tuesday, Aug. 18, away.

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