Close call against McKinney wakes up Leopards


Volleyball is set to take on Wylie East tonight at home after a close call with McKinney last week.

Kevin Davis, Sports Editor

Payback was sweet for the varsity volleyball team last Friday against McKinney as the Leopards took down the Lions on the road in five sets. The Leopards (21-5 overall, 3-0 in district according to the Dallas Morning News) lost the first matchup in three sets (2-1) during the Allen open tournament in pre district.

“It was a big win,” head volleyball coach Jason Nicholson said. “We were lucky to get out of there with a win, to be honest with you. We were playing poorly in set one, set three, and down late in set four 24-20, and we were able to make a comeback.”

Being only one point away from defeat, the Leopards realized that they had to shift into another gear.

“We starting hitting around their defense which had been a problem for us the whole match,” senior Jordan Fate said. “We came together as a team. We haven’t had many games where we’ve had to fight, and in that moment we all knew it was going to take everyone playing clean and playing to win.”

The Leopards did not play to their full potential to start the game. However, the team stepped up when it mattered most.

“In the first three sets I think we played fairly sloppy, and we were making a lot of errors,” Fate said. “Once we realized that this set could be the last of the game, we all stepped up our intensity.”

The comeback that the Leopards mounted was not a new experience for the Lions (17-10, 1-2). Just last week they were in the same situation against Prosper (23-6, 3-0).

“[McKinney] had the chance to close the deal with them and they weren’t able to do it. Luckily, we were able to pull it out as well,” Nicholson said. “We have to figure out some things offensively, we were struggling a little bit. Blocking was not nearly as dominant as I feel like we should be with the size that we have up front. We are still trying to piece some stuff together.”

This week, the team faces Wylie East (9-7, 2-1) on Tuesday and Denison, winless in district, for Homecoming. Nicholson called this week’s schedule “two matches that we should win.”

“That will give us the opportunity to get some bodies healed up a little bit,” Nicholson said. “I think that five game set [against McKinney] took a lot out of us.”

As for the remainder of district play, the team is not focused on winning every set. Nicholson will be putting more emphasis on crisp execution in preparation for the post season.

“I guess the key is not necessarily to win them all right now,” Nicholson said. “We just need to kind of get ourselves ready, so I’d like to see us play a little cleaner than we are, but we are surviving right now so that’s the key.”