The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

State Dynasty

The volleyball will compete for their seventh state title this weekend in their eighth state appearance.
Carter Bryant
Seniors Callie Holden, Paige Becker, Taylor Carty, Bailey Downing, and Haley Deschecnes huddle on the court during Senior Night versus Royse City.

For the eighth time in school history, the volleyball team (41-7) has advanced to the state tournament and is set to play Cedar Park (41-10) in the semi-final match at 1 p.m., Friday at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. Cedar Park has had four of their five playoff matches go to the max five sets, and head coach Jason Nicholson said he hopes the Wolves’ emotional exhaustion and the Leopards’ experience at the state games will help send his team to the final.

“They have an outside hitter, middle, and setter we got to watch out as they all play high level club and will be playing for their last time as seniors,” Nicholson said. “Kori [Cooper], the head coach, recently moved there from Grapevine and is an Amarillo alum where she won a couple state championships and then a national championship at Nebraska, so she has some experience with winning as a player. We know her and the team well, and based on watching some film, we feel like we got a pretty good scouting report. They serve the ball well, so we know we have to focus on that.”

Outside hitter Vanessa Vozza, middle blocker Luci Albertson, and setter Lindsey Ledyard, who leads Cedar Park with 1,033 assists, are the players Nicholson said to look out for with Albertson committed to Fairfield University and Ledyard committed to University of Tulsa. This will be Cedar Park’s second trip to the state tournament in school history, the last time being a 3-1 set loss to the Leopards in the 2012 state semi-final.

“I am expecting our team to play hard and play for each other against a talented and well coached Lovejoy team,” Cedar Park head coach Kori Cooper said. “ Our journey has been one of one match at a time. We are very excited and honored to have earned the opportunity to play in a state semifinal and are looking forward to a great match on Friday.”

Following the Leopards’ match, Amarillo (41-6) and Corpus Christi Tuloso-Midway (40-8) will compete for the second state final spot, a matchup between a nine-time state champion in Amarillo, and a team making its first appearance at state. The Leopards have played Amarillo twice this season, recording a win and a loss, and beat Tuloso-Midway in the Texas Open earlier this year.

“Amarillo’s a good little group and are always feisty enough to win the big volleyball games,” Nicholson said. “We have scouting reports on both of those squads, but haven’t really gotten a lot of work on them yet, a little peeking a bit, but nothing too intense until we take care of the first match. We play early so we have the chance to get back to the hotel to regroup and move on from there preparing for the final.”

Senior middle blocker Bailey Downing is still recovering from her injury suffered in the regional quarterfinals against Frisco Reedy when she landed on an opponent’s foot after jumping up for a block. Downing was able to play for one set of the regional finals last week.

“Bailey’s day-to-day as she’s practicing, but still limping a little bit and I don’t think she’ll be at a hundred percent by this weekend. Though if she’s around 75-90, she’ll be able to help us which would be fantastic,” Nicholson said. “The good thing is the girls that have filled in at that spot have done a great job, so we know we are capable, though it would obviously be better if we could have her in the mix, but we will do what we gotta do.”

The Leopards have won six state titles in three different UIL classifications. If the girls can both advance to and pull out the win in from the state final on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Culwell Center, Lovejoy will become the tenth school in UIL history to have seven state volleyball titles to its name.

“I like the expectations we have because it makes everyone play harder to keep the success in the program,” senior captain Callie Holden said. “With there being so many times we have been to state, the pressure comes easily every time because of knowing the atmosphere. I’m definitely looking forward to helping my teammates through the nerves though. Even though we still experience the highs and lows.”

For seniors Holden, Downing, Lexie Smith, Haley Deschenes, Taylor Carty, and Paige Becker, this weekend will bring their final moments as Leopard volleyball players, though some will continue to play at the collegiate level. On National Signing Day, Becker signed with Cornell University, Downing with Utah State, and Smith with University of Illinois.

“I love all these amazing memories that Lovejoy volleyball has given me, and I’m going to miss this program a lot, but I’m also really excited to move onto my next chapter in my volleyball career at Illinois,” Smith said.

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About the Contributors
Nick Smith
Nick Smith, TRL Editor-in-Chief
Nick Smith is a senior and has held a US citizenship for 17 years, but is still confused as to why he still doesn't qualify for senior citizen discounts. Nick spends his days either hanging out with friends or living in what he calls his second home, but everyone else just calls the newspaper room. He somehow swung it with the counselors to have three periods of newspaper this year, and now seeks to push his luck by requesting a bed to be furnished in the newspaper room for his afternoon naps. In addition to his duties with The Red Ledger, Nick serves as the self-titled “Chief Player Motivator” for the varsity soccer team. Nick draws his inspiration for his fiery, sometimes over the top speeches from the movie-speech greats: Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday, Matthew McConaughey in We Are Marshall, and of course Denzel Washington in Remember The Titans. This will be Nick’s third year as a part of The Red Ledger staff and first as an Editor-In-Chief. Alongside his fellow EICs Hannah and MC, Nick hopes to further the legacy of The Red Ledger and work to make newspaper the best part of each and every staffers’ day.
Carter Bryant
Carter Bryant, Staff Reporter
Carter Bryant is a senior who is a first year staff member of The Red Ledger. He joined because he wants to work as a photographer and cover stories students actually care about. His hobbies include photography, drawing, reading, and hanging out with friends. Carter was on the tennis team and on the yearbook staff. Carter has creatively pursued other outside interest throughout the years as well. He has attended Sky Ranch since 4th grade and completed the program all the way through the highest level, which is Sigma Leadership in Colorado this past summers. In addition, he has been a Camp Counselor employee at Sky Ranch for the past two summers. During his free time he works on his photography and occasionally work under a professional photographer. He wants to become a photojournalist or an entrepreneur, so right now he takes his passion seriously. He enjoys to play video games game with his friends and especially enjoys Pokemon. He has stated if his job when does not work out when he’s older that he will become a full time Pokemon master. He reads in his past time and his favorite books include “Blue like Jazz”, the “Maximum Ride” series, and “Cat in the Hat”. If you want to learn more about him or look at his work look at his Instagram ( @cartier2766 ) and Twitter ( @carterbryant4 ).

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