Lady Chargers bring back tournament title

Posted Monday, Sep. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Keller Central’s volleyball team earned the San Marcos Tournament championship recently and is now focusing on the upcoming district schedule.

Even though the Lady Chargers (13-10) dropped their matches to Argyle and Euless Trinity last week, the championship title at San Marcos has the confidence level high.

Central was to play Burleson this week in their last non-district contest before starting the “real” season with Haltom on Friday.

“We’ve done better than last year in our tournament matches,” said Central head coach Terri Kelso. “Our pre-season (non-district) has not been easy. We seem to end up in the stronger pools at tournaments.”

Kelso said the Lady Chargers have still been experimenting, to some degree, because of injuries. “We’ve gotten some players back, but we still have questions.”

Fortunately, the nucleus of the team is matched in strength by the depth and quality of the bench.

“At one point we started six different players than the six we ended with in the previous game,” Kelso said. “Our bench is about as strong as our starters. That gives us some options.”

Outside hitter Alexis Emanuel, a consistent all-tournament player, said the team is coming around at the right time.

“The bond is much stronger this year,” the senior said of this year’s squad in regard to last season’s third place district team. “Our all character comes together well and we’ve been playing together for a long time.”

The San Marcos tournament win had other benefits in addition to boosting confidence.

“It was good to play new teams at the tournament,” Emanuel said. “It definitely boosts your confidence.”

Haley Howard, a senior captain, said the tournament was also a key point for the season.

“That tournament was a turning point and we came together as a team,” Howard said. “We came together and fought hard. We just wanted it really bad because we came in second last year,” she said of the tournament. “Everything just clicked. I think it comes at a good time because as long as we keep the momentum it will help us in district.”

Even with the tournament win, the Argyle loss helped the team learn that letting up can be detrimental.

“We just want to get all the kinks out before district starts,” Howard added.

“I think we’re mentally ready for district,” Kelso said. “There may be a little shift in the power of the district, but we’re staying focused with what’s at hand and not looking ahead to the big games.”

•  Timber Creek, a team expected to move into the upper echelon of District 4-5A, lost a heartbreaking five-game match to Trophy Club Nelson last week. Heading into their district opener against Keller on Friday, the Lady Falcons are 16-5. Regardless of the rivalry loss, Timber Creek will be tough to contend with in district play. “We absolutely must figure out a way to win game five before district,” head coach Cathy Reeves said.

• Fossil Ridge came out of the ultra-tough Arlington Invitational with more experience gathered than wins. The Lady Panthers then lost to Springtown and to Paschal last week in a tough five-game match. The Lady Panthers have Denton on Tuesday before traveling to Carroll on Friday to open district.

• Keller picked up wins over Burleson Centennial in the Arlington Invitational before beating them again in a five-game match last week. The young Lady Indians now prep for their district opener with Timber Creek on Friday.

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