Grapevine’s volleyball program is in the middle of major district winning streak. Following its sweep of Birdville last Friday, this program has now won 14 consecutive matches dating back to the 2013 season.
The program (17-15, 1-0 in District 6-5A) won its final match in 2013, went 12-0 in District 6-5A play in 2014 and then picked up the opener. There’s a pretty good chance this streak is going to extend to 16 with matches at Fort Worth Dunbar on Tuesday and Fort Worth Eastern Hills on Friday.
But the fact that this streak has a chance to last with four freshmen makes it a little more impressive. Head coach Kori Cooper has been starting outside hitter Symone Wesley and middle blocker Nicole Buhr consistently. Maya Soto has contributed as a defensive specialist and Anna Johnson has made her presence known at setter.
The quartet has helped this program endure some ups and downs. Cooper estimates that 10 of this team’s 15 losses have come to teams that are ranked in the state Class 5A and 6A polls conducted by various organizations. That kind of non-district schedule has helped toughen this team.
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“This is the nature of a young team,” Cooper said. “But we’ve been battle-tested. We had a really good win against Keller [a three game sweep]. We were down 21-16 in the first game. It speaks volumes how we are approaching the district and what we did against Birdville. The good thing is that we got a lot of kids some time on the court in that match.”
Outside some of minor issues, Cooper’s team has been relatively injury-free. That’s been pretty important for the chemistry and all of the new faces working together.
However, Cooper has been able to build some depth.
“They’ve done a great job that sets them apart,” she said. “But we’ve also relied on our seniors to make the difference. When you have two players like Taylor Kress and Payton Gidney, who you can rely on, it really settles a lot of things. They are just great players.”
Cooper will stick with her three-setter look of junior Hannah Merrick, Johnson and sophomore Paiton Broussard.
Colleyville Heritage update
Speaking of district winning streaks, the Lady Panthers have their own still going. They have won 27 consecutive matches dating back to 2013. This team won all 14 matches in 2013 and swept all 12 matches in District 7-6A. They opened up with a win this past Friday against Richland.
There’s a chance that the streak was going to reach 28 on Tuesday against Haltom. It will be put to the test on Friday at Coppell.
Junior outside hitter Tatum Ticknor (sprained ankle) is not expected to return for at least another two weeks. Ticknor continues an aggressive rehab program. Head coach Hollie Huston said the progress has been slow and steady.
“She’s a fantastic player,” Huston said. “I know she’s trying hard to get back. But the one thing I need for her right now is her leadership. The piece we’re missing right now is her voice on the court. But her leadership on the bench is important.”