• Burleson freshman defensive specialist Emma Dustin has helped solidify the back row for the Lady Elks. Burleson opens District 5-5A play Friday at Granbury. The Lady Elks play Tuesday at Centennial. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE

Lady Elks head into district with momentum

Playing against a rival is always a good way to get ready for district play.

Burleson’s volleyball team did just that Tuesday night facing Joshua in its non-district finale.

The Lady Elks walked away with a win over the Lady Owls, 21-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-17 at home.

“We got started late in the first set,” Burleson coach D’Anna Newton said. “We handled the loss (in the first set) well and fought back. It was a great team effort and a great way to roll into district.”

Sophomore outside hitter Emily Rich had another big night registering 22 kills, two aces, and 18 digs.

Junior outside hitter Ellie Strebeck had 19 kills. Sophomore setter Mia Smalls finished the night with 48 assists and 16 digs. Junior defensive specialist tallied 28 digs in the win.

Newton said she intentionally scheduled Joshua as the final non-district match because the Lady Owls are a good competitive team.

The match also provided her with a chance to face one of her former assistant coaches Jordan Whitworth, who is the head coach at Joshua.

This is Whitworth’s first season as a head coach.

The Lady Elks play their first two District 5-5A matches on the road.

Burleson travels to Granbury Friday night and plays at Centennial Tuesday.

“Hopefully the Joshua match will help prepare us for district play,” Newton said.

Friday night, Burleson played Wichita Falls Hirschi in a non-district match.

Newton said the coaching staff didn’t have any scouting report on the Lady Huskies.

“We went in blind and had to be prepared for anything,” Newton said. “I thought we responded really well to the challenge. I was really proud of the way they responded to the adversity.”

The Lady Elks made quick work of Hirschi winning, 25-7, 25-7, 25-11, at home.

Strebeck finished with a game-high 14 kills and six aces. Rich had six kills and two aces.

Junior defensive specialist Macy McCoy had three aces and Smalls registered 16 aces.

Newton also praised the play of freshman defensive specialist Emma Dustin who has also been playing some libero for the Lady Elks.

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