It's no great mystery which player is going to be attacking the most in Fort Worth Dunbar's offense.
So when coach Stephanie Smith talks about outside hitter Jazmine Martin, it's with an openness rarely seen among coaches.
"Sure, defenses just stand there where she's at," Smith said. "And I know, they know, we all know that she's our offense."
The Wildcats (17-19, 9-6 in District 6-4A) can wrap up the fourth playoff spot in the district on Friday with a win over Fort Worth North Side. Dunbar can even back into it if Saginaw Chisholm Trail (18-21, 8-7) loses its Friday match to front-runner Birdville (24-11, 15-0).
If Dunbar and Chisholm Trail finished tied, a fourth-place playoff would be needed.
Smith said it's all about getting business finished Friday.
"We had to really make some adjustments," Smith said. "We were fortunate to not have any injuries during the middle part of the season and we conditioned for that all year. We've shuffled some players around and now we just have to get used to it quicker."
Martin and setter Taylor Dorsey are the one-two punch in Dunbar's offense. But getting players the proper substitution rotations became a recent enigma.
"We're going to persevere, though," Smith said. "We knew this would be a tough district and we're used to district titles and even co-titles. Finishing like this isn't what we wanted, but we played some close games and I'm pleased with how we're trying to fight now."
Richland (17-19, 7-7 in District 4-5A) and Justin Northwest (21-17, 7-7) will decide fourth place at 5 p.m. Friday at Thomas Coliseum in Haltom City.
"It's a tough district and it really is a situation where every game counts," Richland coach Cassie Underwood said. "There were a lot of upsets this season that helped us out. It's a bit surprising but then it's exciting as well."
Richland's Katie Timmons has spent four years on varsity with three straight playoff appearances and Bekah Brouse and Sydney Brock have been on varsity the last two years.
"They've kept the attitude that they wanted to make the playoffs," Underwood said. "I'm just proud of how they didn't quit and stayed with it even though it didn't look good."
Saginaw misses goal
Playoff-bound Saginaw's drive for a district title was clipped by losses to undefeated District 6-4A champ Birdville. Still, Saginaw coach Gina Calkins is pleased with the results.
"We're looking forward to the playoffs," she said. "I've been encouraging our kids to play like it's a playoff every game. That's hard to do sometimes, but our opponents played hard in every match this year and teams can sneak up on you."
The Rough Riders (23-12) meet Denton in bi-district play next week.
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