Volleyball looks to complete undefeated district run


Kelsey Carroll

Sophomore Madeline Speicher defends a hit from Forney.

Alexis Russell, Staff Writer

The volleyball team is finishing up their district season with their last two games away at Wylie East (15-19 overall, 8-5 in district) on Friday at 5:30 pm and at home versus West Mesquite (1-21, 0-11) Tuesday at 6:30 pm.

Coming off a strong win versus district rival Highland Park (24-18, 10-2), the girls need one more win to clinch the district title, which will give them an easier route in playoffs according to head coach Jason Nicholson.

“Luckily for us, we were able to get that dub last night and now we can settle in and start getting our brains wrapped around the playoffs,” Nicholson said. “We need to really work on understanding how to play when the pressure is getting tough and we are getting challenged.”

The first matchup with Highland Park earlier in the season lasted five sets, but the girls were able to get it done in four sets on Tuesday, winning three straight (29-27, 25-13, 25-13) after dropping set one (25-22).

“We didn’t control the match well [in the beginning],” Nicholson said. “I felt like Highland Park really controlled us and delegated what was going to happen. They started putting some pressure on us and we didn’t respond very well, making silly mistakes and not playing clean. It’s something we obviously got to work on, as we start getting closer to playoff time, there is going to be a lot of pressure situations and we need to figure out how to respond differently.”

The team ran into some trouble with substitutions in the second set, but nonetheless were able to take the set after four rounds of deuces. Senior Shanel Bramschreiber said she was proud of how the team overcame the challenge and were able to establish a rhythm in their play.

“We definitely didn’t make as many errors [in the third and fourth sets] as we did in the first and second sets,” Bramschreiber said. “But I honestly feel like running out of subs and having Allie and Mattie in the back row [during the second set] gave us some momentum and made the other team frustrated that they couldn’t win the tight set while we had 2 non-defensive players back there.”

Senior Annabelle Archer said in order to hit their goals and make a reappearance in the state finals, the team needs to be able to deal with the pressure similar to what they experienced versus Highland Park.

“We understood that we had to win this game if we wanted to meet our goal of undefeated district champs,” Archer said. “The expectation for Lovejoy volleyball is to go all the way, and that mentality has to start right now. We have to practice and play like it’s the state finals every chance we get if we want to get to that point.”