PLANO – It’s no surprise to hear that the Prosper volleyball team placed in another major tournament over the weekend. The team has long been ranked among the best teams in the state, and their recent tournament proved that this season should be no different as the Lady Eagles snagged another bronze finish and a 6-1 winning record in one of the biggest volleyball tournaments in the area – the Lone Star Circle of Champions Tournament in Plano.
Prosper, along with other powerhouse schools such as Frisco, Wakeland, and Lovejoy, competed against some of the best teams across the state. The Lady Eagles also battled some familiar foes during the competition, including reigning State Champion Amarillo High.
Similar to most of the tournaments that the team has participated in, each match was played best-of-three, and the top two teams in each pool moved on to the Champions bracket, while the bottom two were placed in a Challengers bracket.
On the first day of bracket pool play, the team was slated against Ursuline, Flower Mound, and Amarillo to determine their placing for day two. They went undefeated in the three matches, which included a major upset against Amarillo, the 2016 State Champions. The first match against Ursuline was a three-set victory (25-12, 23-25, 25-18). Haley Killinger, Ciera Hecht and Hope Gramly dominated the offense, as Gramly recorded her highest amount of kills this season in the win. Defensively, Kayla Martin had 8 digs from the back row. The Lady Eagles then defeated Flower Mound in game two (25-21, 25-18) before taking on Amarillo in the final game of day one. The team fell to Amarillo in last week’s Northwest ISD Tournament, and were adamant about leveling the score. In two explosive and extensive sets, Prosper managed to steal the game from the defending champs, with scores of 25-21 and 29-27. Junior setter Madi Whitmire racked up a total of 77 assists on the day, while Killinger, Hecht and Gramly continued their strong presence at the net.
The dominating performance of the Lady Eagles landed them a spot in the Champions bracket, and matched up against a very strong opponent in Lovejoy High School. Despite their best efforts, Prosper fell to the Lady Leopards in three sets (25-21, 16-25, 23-25). This would be their only loss of the day, however, as they bounced back to win three straight against Grapevine (25-23, 25-19), Rockwall Heath (25-13, 25-19), and finally El Paso Coronado (19-25, 25-21, 26-24) for the Bronze finish. Adding to the offensive mix, senior Taryn Weber had 10 kills in the third-place game, while fellow senior Spencer Smith added 11 digs. Hope Gramly was rewarded for her performance during the weekend by landing a spot on the All-Tournament team.
The Bronze finish in now the third time this season that the Lady Eagles have placed in a tournament, and this is the second time a Prosper player has been named to the Al-Tournament roster. And although on paper they look great, head coach Erin Kauffman said there is still work to be done if they are going to excel in the season.
“If we are going to be a championship team, which we have the ability and potential to be, we have to get rid of our unforced errors and be able to serve aggressive without fear of failure,” she said. “We have a lot ot work on, but I was really pleased with Whitmire’s defense, Gramly’s blocking and offense, and Martin’s serve-receive and defense.”
Now that tournament season is over, the Lady Eagles will turn their full attention to their remaining preseason games. With the bronze finish, they are now 23-5 overall, and will return home on Tuesday, August 29 to take on Keller High School at 6:30 p.m.