Volleyball defeats Pine Tree, to face The Colony in area round

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Volleyball defeats Pine Tree, to face The Colony in area round

Senior Annabelle Archer and junior Michelle Foster high five during the walkout.

Senior Annabelle Archer and junior Michelle Foster high five during the walkout.

Kelsey Carroll

Senior Annabelle Archer and junior Michelle Foster high five during the walkout.

Kelsey Carroll

Kelsey Carroll

Senior Annabelle Archer and junior Michelle Foster high five during the walkout.

Alexis Russell, Staff Writer

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The volleyball team (37-10, 14-0 in district) looks ahead to an area round matchup versus The Colony (32-12, 12-2) this Friday at 6:30 p.m. at McKinney Boyd High School after a convincing win versus Longview Pine Tree in the bi-district round of playoffs with set scores of 25-8, 25-2, and 25-10.

Head coach Jason Nicholson said he is confident in how his team played Monday, serving the ball particularly well with senior Shanel Bramschreiber and sophomore Maddie Speicher tallying up eight aces each.

“Once we got going, I felt like we just took them out of the game,” Nicholson said. “Our serving was very effective. They were never able to get any rhythm whatsoever. Even when they did do some positive things, we were able to trump it with what we were able to do on our side of the net. We were so much more physical than they were, it made it really difficult on them.”

Throughout the entire season the team has consistently emphasized the importance of keeping their side of the net clean and staying focused, which is exactly how they started their playoff run.

“Game one was more about focusing on us than our opponent and cleaning up our side, which we did pretty well,” senior Annabelle Archer said. “I think we did a good job of getting into that playoff mentality and I think that a mindset like that is something we will continue to work on as we advance.”

The team faced Pine Tree in the first round for the second year in a row, winning last year’s matchup with set scores of 25-17, 25-14, and 25-13.

“Sometimes we have a little bit of an advantage, based on the history of the program,” Nicholson said. “I think some [teams] come in either somewhat defeated because they don’t feel like they have the talent pool that we have or even a chance [against us]. But, sometimes [our history] motivates [teams] to come out and throw their A-game at us.”

Nicholson said that The Colony is expected to do just that, notorious for their high energy and led by senior captain and setter Angelee Ng.

“I coached their setter in club a couple years ago,” Nicholson said. “She really does a great job of running the team. They got a lot of kids that play hard; their coach does a good job of getting them to play with a lot of energy. Physically, they don’t match up well with us, but their energy could give us some issues. I’m hoping we come out with some focus and take care of business.”

Recently losing to 6A powerhouse Coppell in a four match scrimmage with set scores of 25-13, 21-25, 12-25, and 29-31, the team’s morale was a little low according to Nicholson.

“After our Coppell loss, we were not really sure where we were at and we had some doubt,” Nicholson said. “I’m hard on the girls, I really push them night in and night out to play at their best. Sometimes it starts to wear on [them] throughout a long season. So, I’m hoping that [this win] gets our brains in the right place.”

Nicholson is confident in his team’s experience, with many players being very familiar with the playoff atmosphere, including Archer.

“At Lovejoy volleyball, the expectation is to win, and I think the team has that mentality,” Archer said. “We understand that at this point, it’s an all-in type of game because once you lose you’re done. Everything we’ve worked for this season is at stake. I think that’s even more so in the senior class because we know that this is our last shot to win it all.”

The goal for the players this year is to go all the way and make their ninth appearance in the state tournament, while looking for their seventh state championship.

“We got some big matchups coming up for us,” Nicholson said. “Round two is a big one, if we can get to round three, that seems to be the match that gets you over the hump every year. It gets you to the regional tournament and once you get there, you got a chance.”