Volleyball Insider: Southlake Carroll, Colleyville Heritage have sights set high

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Despite being the top-ranked team in the state for much of 2012, Southlake Carroll was ousted from the playoffs in a Class 5A regional semifinal.

The team doing that damage, Colleyville Heritage, lost the next day in the regional final.

Both are back in the postseason and both are among the top three teams in the state, according to the Texas Girls Coaches Association.

The UIL bi-district round is Monday and Tuesday, and the three-week playoff drive concludes at the state tournament Nov. 21-23 at Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.

Carroll will play the loser of a District 3-5A tiebreaker between North Crowley and Arlington Lamar, while Heritage will face the loser of a District 5-5A tiebreaker between Lewisville and Flower Mound Marcus.

Teams to watch

• Colleyville Heritage (37-5): Ranked No. 3 in the TGCA state poll, the Panthers have consistency and power. They dominate most matches at the net with a variety of offensive weapons including outside hitters Chandler Templin and Maddie Jones and middle blocker Anna Walsh. “Obviously when you play as well as we did in district, you don’t have as many points to play,” coach Jamie Siegel said. “We had to toughen up practices and bring in some boys with good body control to help us take away some shots. We got better with that approach.” Walsh leads the team with 512 kills and setter Alex Janak has 1,066 assists.

• Southlake Carroll (40-3): No. 2 in the TGCA state poll, the Dragons have depth enough to field another Class 5A team. Like Heritage, Southlake steamrolled its district competition without losing a set. Only one district team made it to 20 points during any set. Carroll doesn’t have an overpowering offense, just a very consistent one. Four hitters have over 200 kills. “Sometimes we’ve had tendencies to be aggressive at the right times, but then get a little passive,” coach Arthur Stanfield said. “There’s always things you can work on, like blocking, because we know that teams in the playoffs are going to be a bit taller.”

• Arlington (37-8): The road will not be easy as the Colts face the winner of District 4-5A tiebreaker between Keller Timber Creek and Keller. Both teams have the firepower to hang with Arlington and each week the competition gets stiffer. Lauren Nicks has established herself as the go-to outside hitter with 501 kills and middle blocker Jacqueline Vernor has 351.

• Mansfield (27-11): The Tigers make their 11th postseason appearance in 14 years and are led by Morgan Mutti, a strong outside hitter. The Tigers lost two games in district, including one to rival Timberview last week. “We lost to DeSoto very early in the season and that woke us up,” coach Judith McGill said. “When you get to this point in the season, the competition gets really strong and we have a lot of heavy work to do if we want to make a deeper run.”

• Burleson (37-2): The Elks, No. 2 in the TGCA Class 4A state poll, are strong, chalking up another district title and winning a nondistrict matchup 3-1 over Aledo earlier this season. Holly Milam is vicious in the middle for Burleson, recording 562 kills and 143 blocks this season. “I think the biggest thing about the win over Aledo was that it proved to these girls that they are as good as everyone says they are,” coach Aubrey Short said. “Now it’s time to get on the floor and take care of our future. We had a great regular season and the girls are excited about the postseason.”

• Aledo (36-7): The Bearcats tied with Granbury for the district title, but won a coin flip for the top seed. Raygan McLellan is back from injury and has over 300 kills. “Everyone is getting healthy at the right time, and I feel like we are in a much better position,” coach Kathy Goings said. “We have a young team and they’re hungry for it.” The Bearcats play Joshua on Tuesday in the second game of a playoff doubleheader at Glen Rose. Granbury will play Burleson Centennial in the first match at 6 p.m.

• Granbury (38-4): Six players have more than 100 kills for this team that used a late victory over Aledo to claim the co-champion crown in District 7-4A. Senior Aubrey Ezell leads the team with 208 kills, and junior Breana Crain has 492 digs to anchor the back row.

• Trophy Club Nelson (22-15): There’s something to prove this season for the Bobcats as Aledo rocketed past Nelson last year on its way to the state tournament. Haley Tippitt and Elizabeth Pennington are solid hitters, recording 467 and 453 kills, respectively.

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