By Rodney Hays
The Prosper Lady Eagles volleyball team closed out the regular season last week with a third-place finish in possibly one the toughest districts in the state. After missing the playoffs last season, the team will begin the postseason this year with a talented team.
First year coach, Erin McClanahan said she is excited about the team’s success and the postseason berth.
"I am very excited, and that I really owe all of my success to the people who I learned from, specifically: Anne Kordes, my college head coach at Saint Louis University and the current HC at University of Louisville, Debbie Humphreys, my former boss who gave me my first coaching job and is still the head coach at SFA, and Ryan Mitchell, the head coach at Lovejoy, who is my mentor, former boss, and great friend who I still bounce a lot of ideas off of."
But ultimately, she gives a lot of credit to the players, parents and her staff. "Not only do they [the team] have a lot of talent, but they bought into the system that I was preaching, and the parents got on board as well. The support my staff and I received this year is a huge piece of the pie. My staff is also a huge piece of this success; I truly was able to surround myself with people who have strengths that compliment mine, and we have had a great ride so far."
The Lady Eagles are also excited about the season so far and the playoffs ahead. She said the winning attitude the players has is spreading and, like their head coach, the team doesn’t like to lose.
"I know that they were very disappointed with losing to Frisco twice in district, but I have seen a fire in them since our last district match at Heritage, and they are playing very well right now," McClanahan said.
But now district records don’t matter. The playoffs are winner take all, the losing team will start the offseason. McClanahan said her team will need to be prepared.
"Playoffs are scary because if you don’t come out prepared, any team could win. We are doing our best to scout every single possible opponent, and prepare our team for each match, one round at a time."
The Lady Eagles could face Frisco in the third round, but they can’t look past their first opponent, Carrollton Creekview. Prosper was scheduled to play Creekview after the newspaper deadline on Tuesday night at Frisco High School.
If the girls can get past those first two rounds (including playing the winner of Dallas Carter and Dallas Hillcrest), McClanahan said she would welcome a rematch with Frisco.
"We have nothing to lose and we play our best when we just go out there and claw our way through the match," she said.
Scott White of Lonestarvolleyball.com said on his website that he believes Region 2 is the toughest in the state and predicts that Frisco Centennial will be the winner of the region and will move on to the state tournament. But Prosper could be in the mix, he says.
If the team wins Tuesday night, the Lady Eagles will play the winner of the Carter/Hillcrest match. McClanahan said she hopes for a Friday night match but the time and date will not be set until after both matches.
Last week’s matches:
Prosper beats Heritage in 4, capping off the regular season by finishing in third place in district 9-4A with a record of 11-3, a vast improvement from last year’s 5-9 (6th place) district record.
Scores: 19-25, 25-20, 28-26, 25-16
Meredith Bramer: 13 kills, 27 digs
Kaylee Cole: 28 digs
Kandyce Freeman: 7 blocks
Kahla Watkins: 16 digs
Reagan Jones: 15 digs
Ashley Brown: 13 digs, 39 assists
Heritage sweeps Prosper 3-0: 27-25, 25-15, 27-25
Meredith Bramer 15 kills 9 digs
Meagen Turner 10 digs
Kaylee Cole 20 digs
Ashley Brown 12 digs and 28 assists