Volleyball Insider: Keller, Keller Timber Creek vying for 4-5A’s fourth playoff spot

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
Key games Friday Birdville at Saginaw, 5:30 p.m. Trimble Tech at South Hills, 6:30 p.m. North Crowley at Arlington Bowie, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday Southlake Carroll at Keller Central, 5:30 p.m. Nolan Catholic at Argyle Liberty Christian, 6 p.m. Colleyville Heritage at L.D. Bell, 6:30 p.m. Mansfield Timberview at Mansfield, 7 p.m.

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Keller was 2-5 and not looking good through the first half of District 4-5A play.

But Keller has rallied in the second half, starting with a 3-2 win over Keller Timber Creek and winning three straight matches to pull even with the Falcons at 5-5. The final two weeks will prove crucial for both teams’ chances at earning the final playoff spot.

Keller plays teams holding the first-, second- and third-place spots, while Timber Creek will face only two of those teams.

“It took us a while to get going this season,” coach Sylvia Ortiz said. “We have so many young players that we are working with and injuries that we had to get past. I like our odds with the games we have left.”

Leading the charge on offense has been freshman outside hitter Cameryn Zahradnik, who has 132 kills, and setter Malery Wahlin has propped up an astounding 773 assists.

Where the Indians may be most improved is the back row, where libero Ava Carnley has 159 digs and Kelley Thomas has 129.

For Timber Creek, it’s about breaking through to the playoffs for the first time.

“Our challenge is that we’ve never been close to being in the playoffs,” coach Cathy Reeves said. “I feel good about our chances, and it’s about how these girls respond. They’re ready to build that winning tradition here.”

Lauren Mills, an SMU signee, has been the offensive stat leader with 12.4 kills per game.

Trimble Tech’s push

Fort Worth Trimble Tech (11-10) is within a couple of wins of returning to the playoffs.

Standing in the way, though, is rival Fort Worth Western Hills. The Cougars have their own sights set on the final 7-4A playoff berth, sitting alone in fourth.

Trimble Tech and Western Hills have four district games remaining, and Tech lost in five sets to the Cougars earlier this season.

The teams will meet again Tuesday in a match that will go a long way toward deciding the final playoff spot.

Western Hills won the first match 25-22, 27-25, 6-25, 18-25, 15-12.

“It was a heartbreaker for us but a motivating lesson as well,” Tech coach Jordan Parks said. “We’ve had a problem finishing strong all season, and we’ve also struggled to start out well. But these kids don’t give up.”

If Tech can pull out some wins over the final stretch, it would be the Bulldogs’ second trip to the postseason in 16 years.

Middle blocker Morgan Thomas leads the way with 176 kills and 11 blocks on the season.

North Crowley fights on

North Crowley is 6-4 in District 3-5A with four games remaining, and the Panthers are fighting for the final playoff berth.

If they can pull it off, it will be the second consecutive season that North Crowley has been to the postseason.

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