Adjusting from club volleyball back to high school play has been the biggest issue Arlington has faced as it gets into mid-season form.
At 23-13 overall and 3-1 in District 3-5A, the Colts are getting close.
"We weren't certain with our setters if we could run a 5-1," coach Kim Spencer said. "But we're tall this year and want to get our height on the floor, so it's been a great adjustment."
The 5-1 offense revolves around a single setter on the floor at any given time. Other teams use two setters. Arlington's two setters share the playing time.
Kathlyn Risenhoover has 445 assists, and Emma Smith is second with 189. Also, Risenhoover averages 5.8 assists per set, and Smith averages 3.3. That has led to more success at the net, where the team hitting percentage is .208.
"We're very versatile this year," Spencer said. "We have different players that can play so many positions, and they've been able to adjust well when different players have off nights."
The height and bigger blocking positions make Arlington dangerous. Ashley Mariani, committed to Tennessee, leads the Colts with 70 blocks, and Jacqueline Vernor has 56. Those two make up the bulk of Arlington's ability to get better opportunities on the outside.
"Defenses have to account for them, so they are a unique pair for us," Spencer said.
Kaitlyn Granger and sophomore Lauren Nicks lead the team in hitting. Granger has 245 kills in 804 attacks, and Nicks has 109 in 414 attacks.
Western Hills regroups
Western Hills is off to a 10-6 start but suffered its first district loss at home Tuesday to Granbury to fall to 3-1 in 6-4A.
It wasn't without some fight, though. Western Hills rallied from an 18-9 deficit to get as close as two points before a 25-21 loss in the first set.
The Cougars had 26 errors, which led to easy Granbury points. That hasn't been the norm this year from coach Suzette Pritchett's team.
"We've struggled a bit, but we've played some really good teams," she said. "Last Friday, we played a very good South Hills team, and the way we play is that we try to get teams out of their serve-receive pattern."
That focus has worked in many cases, although Western Hills' back line struggled against the serving of Granbury.
Still, middle blocker Haley Nemitz has been a force at the net. She was the catalyst with two kills and two blocks in that first-set rally.
Friday's key games
Mansfield Summit at Mansfield Legacy: Legacy is under .500 overall but is 2-2 in District 15-4A. Summit is 20-12 and 3-1.
Arlington Lamar at Arlington Martin: This is an ultimate rivalry with two storied programs, both undefeated in district.
Keller at Southlake Carroll: Players from Keller have pointed to this game as a measuring stick of where they can go. Both teams are undefeated in district play.
Tuesday's key games
Euless Trinity at Hurst L.D. Bell: Rivalry with both teams expected to be undefeated in district, enough said.
Burleson at Crowley: These two also are undefeated in district.
Mansfield Summit at Red Oak: The second- and third-place teams in 15-4A will solidify their spots here.
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