On the same night the Arlington volleyball program honored one of its legendary former players, a pair of young players showed that they’re up to the task of carrying on the Lady Colts’ successful legacy.
Sophomore Katie Clark and freshman Maddy Knott, both middle blockers, helped lead Arlington to a 3-0 victory against Bowie on Oct. 20. That victory helped the Lady Colts clinch a playoff berth in the ultracompetitive District 4-6A.
After the win, Knott, Clark and their teammates looked on as Bowie coach Lauren Otto, a 2006 Arlington graduate, was inducted into the program’s hall of honor. Knott hopes former Lady Colts players are proud of the current squad’s success.
“I think we’re carrying on that tradition of doing good in district and going on to the playoffs,” Knott said.
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Knott is carrying on a tradition of a freshman middle blocker playing a lead role for Arlington. Clark, perhaps the team’s best player and one of its key leaders, started last season as a freshman. Knott is playing a similar role this season.
“She’s improving and blossoming into this great player,” Clark said. “And it’s just so amazing to see how good she can be.”
After a shaky start, the Lady Colts have demonstrated how good they can be. Arlington had an 8-5 district record heading into its 4-6A finale Oct. 27 at Fort Worth Paschal. The Lady Colts had already clinched the fourth playoff seed.
“I’ve been pretty hard on them because I know what they can be like,” coach Kim Spencer said. “They’ve shocked me from Day One … being versatile and making sure if they make one error, they don’t make two errors.”
Clark said Arlington’s ball placement has continually gotten better. Balls that were once hit out of bounds are now being regularly dropped in the perfect position to earn a point.
“Every day we’re improving,” Clark said. “It’s amazing to see because we started at such a low level and now we’re so good. We’ve improved so much.”
Knott has been one of the reasons for Arlington’s steady improvement. She earned an opportunity to play right away when a returning middle blocker decided to leave the program. It took a little while for Knott to adjust to the speed of the varsity game.
“I was used to playing with people my age more, and now I’m starting to play with seniors and it’s a much more fast-paced game,” Knott said. “I think the biggest adjustment was just the speed of the game.”
But Spencer can now count on Knott to play with seniorlike savvy and consistency. “She’s done really well,” Spencer said. “She’s been consistent. When you have a young team, usually that’s what you’re lacking. She’s walking away with two or three blocks a game and that’s pretty good for a freshman.”