Volleyball team ties up first place in district


Zoe Allison

Senior Haley Deschenes is awaiting the opposing team’s serve to her side of the court.

Nick Smith, Sports Editor

After an avenging win against Highland Park (28-7, 9-1) last Tuesday, the volleyball team (30-5, 9-1) sits tied for first in district standings with only three games left before playoffs, and as long as both teams win out, there will be a tiebreaker to determine seeding.

Following a win against Wylie East last Friday, the girls head to West Mesquite tonight in their third-to-last game of district play with games against North Forney and Royse City still ahead.

“I have not talked to [Highland Park head coach Michael] Dearmen yet to see what we will do regarding a tiebreaker, but it most likely won’t go public until district results are official,” head coach Jason Nicholson said. “I’m not sure what Dearmen wants, but I know in that situation we want to play, because it will be a kind of warm-up match for us before playoffs and there’s no better match than one with meaning.”

The win against Highland Park puts the volleyball team in second place in class 5A according to SportsdayHS, behind only rival Prosper. Nicholson said the girls’ improved focus, compared to the first meeting with HP, led to the victory.

“I think the first time we played those guys, Highland Park did a very good job of villainizing us, knowing that we would be the biggest challenge coming from the district change, and I’m not sure we took that first round as serious as they did,” Nicholson said. “In this game I think the roles changed and we played how I expected we should, with greater focus and energy. It was nice to see that energy that’s been hard to find in district games as we head into playoffs.”

The volleyball team only dropped the third set to Highland Park in their rematch, winning the others with a 6-10 point margin, quite the difference from their last meetup that had only a 2-3 point margin in the three sets. Nicholson said the team showed their playoff level of play during the game.

“We saw more of the team that we should be on a consistent basis and I think we clicked the playoff switch and showed what we are truly capable of,” Nicholson said. “I think in set three we had a little bit of a lull and got stressed a bit, which I keep telling our girls it’s good to be in those situations because with playoffs coming up. Those situations are going to be more common and we can be better prepared for them.”

Senior captain Callie Holden, who had 12 kills on the night, said the game was very insightful for the team to see areas of strength as well as areas in need of improvement.

“We learned that if we play with emotion we play more together as a team,” Holden said. “The game showed us where we stand as a potential state championship winning team and how much more work we need to stay on top. We have to keep our eyes on our goals and remind ourselves what we are working for until the end of district.”

Senior Taylor said that the rest of district should be smooth sailing for both the volleyball team and Highland Park.

“The next few teams we’re playing won’t give us much competition so it’ll be hard to stay pumped up and ready to play Highland Park again,” Carty said. “It’s not likely that Highland Park will drop a game before the end of district either, but Forney gave them a good challenge last time and so they could get upset the second time around.”