After 21 years, Kathy Goings retired as Aledo volleyball coach.
She won 641 games and never missed the playoffs.
Two months later, Claire Gay arrived from Decatur, where she spent 10 years, won 324 games and won two UIL state titles in 2013 (Class 3A) and 2014 (4A).
The transition has gone smooth as the Bearcats are now two wins away from a state title.
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Aledo eliminated defending 5A champ Amarillo 25-20, 25-16, 15-25, 25-22 on Friday night and then swept Colleyville Heritage 25-22, 25-16, 25-21 to win the 5A Region I tournament in Abilene.
The Bearcats (37-13) advanced to their first state tournament since 2014 where they take on No. 1 Leander Rouse (49-3), 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. Aledo is ranked No. 9 according to TGCA.
Box Score vs. Amarillo
Hannah Jones 15 kills
Evelyn Torres 10 kills 2.5 blocks
Sarah Haeussler 8 kills 4 blocks
Daleigh Ellison 8 kills 2 blocks
Allegra Rivas 36 digs
Sydney Casey 12 digs 7 kills
Sarah Morehead 23 assists 15 digs
Maggie Wackerhagen 15 assists 10 digs
Box Score vs. Colleyville Heritage
Sydney Casey 15 digs 8 kills
Sarah Haeussler 8 kills 3.5 blocks
Allegra Rivas 32 digs
Evelyn Torres 8 kills 8 digs
Maggie Wackerhagen 13 assists
Sarah Morehead 12 assists
Alex Grooms 3 blocks
Daleigh Ellison 2.5 blocks
Hannah Jones 2.5 blocks
Jacob Hanan was headed to Fort Worth All Saints, but unlike Claire Gay, Hanan was coaching his first high school team.
The transition was not as smooth, but the end result was all worth it.
Switching over from the SPC to TAPPS, All Saints started the season with seven losses, but only lost three matches since Sept. 21 to win the TAPPS 5A championship against San Antonio Holy Cross 25-18, 19-25, 25-22, 19-25, 16-14 on Saturday at Waco Midway.
“This was an ultimate team,” said Hanan, who has coached club in the past. “I’ve coached some great players, a No. 1 team in the nation, but these kids were something to watch and as a coach, it was so gratifying to see.”
For the last six years, Hanan has coached with Lone Star Volleyball. He always wanted to coach high school, but never found the time.
“I made a whole bunch of time and it was an amazing experience,” Hanan said. “High school is a different animal. In club, I get to pick the top players, but in high school it’s what you have. It was a challenge, but I got a lot of help from other coaches and got an idea of what they did in their first year.”
Hanan came into the program - a schedule already in place. The Saints went to the Pearland Tournament to begin the year, one of the hardest fields in the state.
“I wasn’t expecting to win, but to compete,” Hanan said. “I like the hardest schedules because it gives you that experience you need down the road. Pearland was about learning if my system was going to work and for the kids to buy in.”
One way to get his players to buy in - Hanan gave all 12 players a gold coin and told them to give it back once they bought in, but once they returned it, it was all-in and no turning back.
He didn’t get any coins the first month, but once district started, they kept coming back to him.
Against Holy Cross, junior Marissa Neal won the championship point. Junior Ashton Mares had 16 kills and 14 digs. Senior Samantha Selman had 10 kills and four blocks in the semifinals against Regents Austin.
“It felt amazing. This team has worked so hard over the this past season. At first things were a little rocky, but when we finally started winning and clicking we knew we could go far this season,” said Mares, committed to Tulane beach volleyball. “After all of the long practices and 6:30 morning workouts, it all payed off and was worth it when that last point ended and we won 16-14. Most of us didn’t expect to be as emotional as we were, but it was such an amazing moment that my team will never forget.”
For the fourth time this season, District 8-4A rivals Glen Rose and Midlothian Heritage faced off and for the fourth time, Glen Rose came out on top.
The Tigers swept the Jaguars 25-23, 25-23, 25-15 in the 4A Region I final at Western Texas College in Snyder to advance to their first state trip in program history.
Senior Ally Andress and junior Bryanna Lytle were named all-tournament. Junior Logan Smith was voted MVP.
“From day one this year, our focus and goal was to make history at Glen Rose in more ways than one,” coach Sandy Langford said. “We accomplished our first goal - first volleyball team in Glen Rose history to make a state appearance - next we want to make our big dream into reality.”
No. 2 Glen Rose (48-1) plays No. 9 Argyle (26-18), which defeated Krum 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Eagles clinched a state berth for the fourth-straight year and fifth in six years.
Box Score vs. Heritage
Logan Smith 11 kills 13 digs
Bryanna Lytle 10 kills 17 digs
Ally Andress 9 kills
Laiken McAnear 9 kills
Libby Hinton 8 kills 2 blocks
Mallory Rogers 25 assists
Emma Bozarth 21 assists 8 digs
Heritage, just in its third season, wrapped up a successful run. Under new head coach Timmi Blackshear, the Jaguars finished 33-4 and won a playoff game for the first time. They also won two tournaments to start the season.
“I knew this season had the potential to be special not just the fact of having our first senior group, but in the potential they had as a team to create a lot of firsts for Heritage volleyball,” Blackshear said. “They accomplished that and then some. I couldn’t be more proud of the growth, grit and teamwork that they showed this season, and the culture that they created that’s now Heritage volleyball. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to be their biggest fan each week. Hard to complain about a 33-4 season.”