By Rodney Hays
In a year that many might have considered a rebuilding year for the young Lady Eagles volleyball team, they now find themselves preparing for the postseason. The team was also playing for a surprising second-place finish in the district until they ran into a buzz-saw in the Frisco Lady Raccoons and lost 3-1.
"I think that Frisco flat out outplayed us," said Erin McClanahan of the loss to Frisco. "They played smarter, and they played harder. Our Ball control and defense broke down, and our kill efficiency went down dramatically from prior matches."
The loss didn’t hurt the team too much as far as the playoffs are concerned. The second and third place teams move into the same bracket. But it did force a must-win game Friday night against The Colony to guarantee the third place spot. District 9-4A is one of the best in the state. Currently the district’s top ranked team, Centennial, is ranked No. 1 in the state and Frisco is currently ranked No. 3 behind Lovejoy. So finishing third is quite an accomplishment.
McClanahan said the loss to Frisco may have helped her team get ready for the postseason.
"Mentally, I think it actually fired them up," she said. "One of my juniors, Kandyce Freeman, asked me if she could hold a team meeting. I said ‘yes.’ I wasn’t present, but I heard it went well. There’s only so much the coaching staff can say to get them motivated and playing well. I was glad to see one of the girls step up and start pushing them. We have had some good practices since."
The Lady Eagles beat The Colony in five games Friday night to secure the third place finish in the district.
The team will play this Friday night in a postseason warm-up game against Colleyville Heritage in Prosper.
Colleyville Heritage is the state’s No. 3 ranked team overall in the Lonestarvolleyball.com rankings. McClanhan said she got a call from Heritage’s coach asking to play the Lady Eagles in the warm-up.
"Colleyville will be the toughest team that we have faced this year," McClanahan said. "To not only have their coach approach me about this match, but also allow us to host it, we are very excited. It’s not every day that you get a call from one of the best teams in the state asking to play.
"Coach Siegel said, ‘We want to play a 4A school, we want to play a great 4A school that will challenge us. We want to play you.’ This is a huge compliment to our program and a huge testament to the strides this team has made over the course of one year."
Frisco defeats Prosper: 25-23, 19-25, 25-21, 25-21.
Kandyce Freeman: 10 kills
Meredith Bramer: 9 kills and 17 digs
Kaylee Cole: 10 digs and 3 aces
Ashley Brown: 41 assists for the match.
Prosper defeats The Colony: 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 25-11, 15-10
Abby Jameson: 13 kills, 11 digs
Meredith Bramer: 13 kills, 25 digs
Maddie Scarbrough: 11 kills, 10 digs
Kaylee Cole: 29 digs
Kahla Watkins: 16 digs
Kandyce Freeman: 8 kills, 4 blocks