Keller teams look to fine tune team at Arlington Invitational

Posted Monday, Aug. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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It’s back to school time for students across North Texas beginning this week.

It’s also back-to-the-court time for high school volleyball players, who already have a few weeks of games under their belt.

But as students congregate together again in classrooms across North Texas, over 30 volleyball teams will come together in an annual rite of fall – the Arlington Invitational.

The tournament, hosted by Arlington High, Lamar and Martin, features 11 four-team pools playing a guaranteed six games throughout the weekend. Depending on a team’s record through Friday’s pool play, they will be seeded into four different brackets to be played out on Saturday.

The field of 44 teams includes many Tarrant County schools, including Keller, Keller Fossil Ridge, Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage.

For Grapevine head coach Diane Wilson, the format that provides for a large amount of games in a short time span allows her to make her final lineup changes before the real grind of the season begins.

“Our hope is to see what will probably be your lineup for the rest of the year,” she said.

It also gives her and all participating teams a chance to either play against or watch future district or playoff opponents, providing for a detailed scouting report.

Southlake Carroll returns as the defending champion and will again be the team to beat, Wilson said. Two other Tarrant county teams placed last year, as Arlington took fourth place and Arlington Martin finished as the Consolation bracket runner up.

Grapevine enters its third straight appearance in the tournament with a young squad, not unlike that of Keller. Lady Indian head coach Sylvia Ortiz said before the season began that all her pre-district games, especially the tournaments, will help her team grow up much quicker as they approach district play.

“Preseason is very important to compete hard and play hard so you can figure out what your weaknesses really are so by the time district rolls around you can improve on those,” she said.

Wilson knows these words will be truth in this tournament.

“The team I was reading about two weeks ago is going to be dramatically different this weekend,” Wilson said.

For Grapevine, improvements have come in the setting game as they develop a rookie corps into the position.

“There was a lot of question marks to what kind of offense we’d be able to accomplish and I’m very pleased with their development so far,” Wilson said.

With the level of competition coming to the tournament this year, Wilson believes it’s the best way to prepare for the always-important district schedule.

“I feel like because of the talent of our area and at the state level these days, a number of tournaments are going to have that [level of competition] and this is one of them,” Wilson said.

Also in action:

•  Keller Central travels down I-35 to take part in the San Marcus Tournament, and Keller Timber Creek hopes to begin a special run into district play at the Forney Tournament.

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