Volleyball sets their way into district play

After a loss to Southlake Carroll, the volleyball team is in preparation for a match against JJ Pearce


Mandy Halbert

Callie Holden , Morgan Seidl, and Lexie Smith await the serve during game 2 against Southlake Carroll.

Kevin Davis, Sports Editor

So far, the Leopard volleyball team has been collecting wins all throughout non-district and tournament play. However, the defending 5A state champions are coming off a 3-0 loss (25-20, 25-23, 25-23) on Tuesday to 6A powerhouse Southlake Carroll and previous head coach Ryan Mitchell.

“I would think on paper if you look at that match up it looks like a really competitive match,” head volleyball coach Jason Nicholson said. “I’m not sure either team really showed up ready to battle.”

With a busy pre-district schedule, the team started to fatigue. Especially after three major tournaments on consecutive weekends, the Leopards began to notice the fatigue during practice which could have affected their play against the Dragons.

“I told them I was a little disappointed in the way we came out,” Nicholson said. “I told them that we are all in the same phase when it comes to volleyball. It’s such a rush when school starts, we have already played in three straight tournaments in three straight weekends, so I think fatigue kind of settled in a little bit. We had been seeing that in practice some as well.”

However, with the team coming off a loss, they have a chance to regain their momentum going into district with two final non-district games. One point of emphasis that Nicholson wants to make before district play begins is being disciplined to responsibilities on the court.

“That’s an area that I would really like to see us improve on,” Nicholson said. “I’m a big fan of things being done the right way, whether it’s technical or position-wise, so I’d like to see us get back on track there as we move forward into district.”

The first team standing in the way of the Leopards is JJ Pearce on the road on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Mustangs ended last season on a loss to The Woodlands in the state semifinals. Last year’s district 10-6A outstanding defender Kendall Goss and outstanding blocker Mimi Richards return for their senior year and will be leading the Mustangs. The Mustangs current record is 10-6 according to the Dallas Morning News.

“Obviously the expectation is to win the game, but Pearce is a good team and it will be good competition and it will be a good game,” senior Caroline Johnson said. “We have been working on defense and blocking in practice, so I think it will be more of a defensive game than offensive.”

The Leopards will see some familiar faces on the court against Pearce, because some of the Leopards play on the same team as some of the Mustangs in the club volleyball season.

“I think it’s really fun against kids that you play with in club, and so when we see them in the fall it is a good time to catch up,” senior Jordan Fate said. “I know Sarah [Langs] has played with one of the girls on Pearce and so have Callie [Holden] and Bailey [Downing], so everyone just gets together and has fun. The competition is friendly, because everyone is friends with everyone on JJ Pearce.”
The other team on the Leopards’ schedule is Rockwall in a road contest on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. The Yellowjackets are currently sitting at 13-7 according to the Dallas Morning News. Some very impactful players are back for the Yellowjackets in former district 11-6A setter of the year Hannah Adams, blocker of the year Bayleigh Scott, and defensive MVP Chaney Garcia.