Lady Panthers off to surprisingly rocky start

Posted Monday, Aug. 18, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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The Colleyville Heritage volleyball team didn’t have the start it was expecting in 2014. A program that lost only six matches in 2013 stood 4-4 through the first week. The Lady Panthers finished 27th at the Texas Invitational tournament this past weekend in Pearland.

It might have been more of a stunner when they dropped the season opener to Flower Mound on Aug. 12. Colleyville Heritage, though, returned the favor to Flower Mound in Pearland.

“It’s a little bit of a surprising start,” head coach Jamie Siegel said. “But we do have high expectations for this program every year. I’m not truly concerned about 4-4 because we’re still in a position of developing growth and chemistry. We got a lot better on Saturday.”

However, the program is without junior outside hitter Maddie Jones for the time being. Siegel declined to go into specifics, but said Jones is still with the program and that it’s not injury related.

“She’ll be back soon,” Siegel said.

The major concern is how the team is working through the serve receive game issues, Siegel said. Chemistry is a part of it, with players playing next to other players for the first time. But Siegel said she is still trying to find right combinations and will not settle on anything until she has a lineup that is showing the best results.

The same goes for shifting between the 6-2 and 5-1 setups. There have been times that she has used one alignment in one set and the other in the next set. There is no timetable for a final decision.

“It’s just a constant of mixing and matching,” Siegle said. “But I want to keep them uncomfortable, because they have to keep working.”

Colleyville Heritage played host to GCISD district rival Grapevine – remember, the two are no longer in the same district because Grapevine dropped down to 5A – and Keller Central on Tuesday. The Lady Panthers then play in the Allen tournament Friday and Saturday.

Grapevine update

New coach Kori Cooper’s debut week went about as well as she could have hoped. The Lady Mustangs went 5-2, including 5-1 in their own tournament over the weekend. They finished third.

Following a loss in the season opener to Lewisville Hebron on Aug. 12, the Lady Mustangs beat Joshua, Carrollton Newman Smith and Keller Timber Creek on Friday. They then lost Richland on Saturday but defeated Hurst L.D. Bell. The tournament was an educational experience, Cooper said.

“We just need to work on the little things that cause wins,” Cooper said. “I think we were getting too focused on the end result instead of working to what got them there, like calling the call and covering our hitters.”

But Cooper liked the way her front line started between junior outside hitter Taylor Kress, sophomore middle blocker Hailey Johnson and sophomore outside hitter Jordan McCalla.

“It’s a growing experience for all of us,” Cooper said. “We got beat Saturday, but I like the way they responded in the next match.”

At this point, Cooper is favoring using a 6-2 rotation between senior Chandler Coolbaugh and sophomore Renee Townsend. Townsend has also seen some time on the front row.

Grapevine played Colleyville Heritage on Monday and traveled to Mansfield on Tuesday before playing in the Northwest ISD tournament Thursday-Saturday.

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